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Combined procedure increases cure rate for hepatis-C
American scientists from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have apparently discovered a new method for treating hepatitis C. As the team currently reports in the “New England Journal of Medicine”, what is special about this method is that it puts less strain on the body than previous forms of therapy. The new method could possibly be approved later this year.
Hepatitis in most cases caused by viruses Hepatitis - an inflammation of the liver (from Hepar = Greek liver), which is often referred to as "jaundice" in some patients due to the strikingly yellowish skin and yellow eyes. The causes of hepatitis are different: viruses, bacteria or parasites can be triggers as well as certain diseases or metabolic disorders (e.g. fatty liver). In addition to this, medication or excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to hepatitis. In most cases, however, inflammation of the liver is caused by viruses (“viral hepatitis”), with the virus types hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the foreground stand.
Around 150 million people worldwide suffer from hepatitis C While hepatitis A usually heals without complications, forms B and C can lead to chronic courses or even liver failure. Vaccinations against forms A and B are possible; despite intensive research, there is no hepatitis C vaccine to date. Accordingly, this form of liver inflammation is widespread.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 150 million people worldwide are chronically infected with the C virus, and 350,000 people die annually from the associated diseases of the liver. In Germany, experts estimate that 400,000 to 500,000 people are affected. So far, the disease has usually been treated with a combined therapy with the drugs "Ribavirin" and "Interferon", which - depending on the genotype of the virus - has a chance of recovery of 50 to 80%.
Previous therapy with many side effects But in most cases the treatment is accompanied by many side effects: interferon can trigger flu symptoms such as fever and chills, but it can also cause tiredness, mild hair loss, thyroid dysfunction and psychological complaints such as depression or anxiety. Ribavirin also causes a decrease in red blood cells in many patients.
Gentler treatment through new procedure with daclatasvir and sofosbuvir However, there is new hope for hepatitis patients for a treatment method with significantly fewer side effects. As the US research team led by Mark Sulkowski from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (Maryland, USA) currently writes in the “New England Journal of Medicine”, the newly discovered procedure can apparently significantly increase the chances of cure for hepatitis C. According to this, purely oral therapy with the two new active substances “Sofosbuvir” and “Daclatasvir”, which had only recently been approved in the USA, had been successful in 98% of the patients - for the researchers this is an important indication that in the future ribavirin may possibly act on the two active substances or interferon can be largely dispensed with.
Success in 98 percent of those affected with virus genotype 1
The researchers had examined the new procedure in a total of 211 patients and came to the conclusion that 98 percent of those affected with virus genotype 1 reacted positively to the therapy, even those for whom the conventional therapy had previously shown no effect. However, the use of the new active substances also had a positive effect on genotypes 2 and 3: “A total of 92% of the 26 patients with a genotype 2 infection and 89% of the 18 patients with a genotype 3 infection showed one persistent virological response in week 12, ”the scientists said in their article.
Approval possibly later this year This is a decisive step forward for the medical profession in order to treat hepatitis C patients in the future in a gentler and more tolerable manner while at the same time being more effective. "Our extensive clinical trial programs have shown that daclatasvir has potential to be used as a baseline for multiple treatments for Hepatits-C," said Brian Daniels, a member of the Bristol-Myers Squibb pharmaceutical group’s senior management team, who oversaw the studies "If Daclatasvir is approved, we would focus on helping to ensure availability for patients with limited treatment options and would work with EU health authorities to get access as quickly as possible," said Company in a press release. The active ingredient has now been approved in the USA - however, approval is still pending for Europe, but according to Bristol-Myers Squibb, it is still expected this year. (No)
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