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New Drugs Could Halt U.S. Hepatitis C Epidemic, but Only with Increased Testing and Treatment

Treatment using direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) could have a major impact on the hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemic in the U.S., according to a model published in the November 30 online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. A 4-fold increase in treatment rates could prevent over a quarter of a million HCV-related deaths by 2040, and prevalence could be reduced by 90% with the scale up of screening efforts, especially targeting people who inject drugs (PWID). But the investigators caution that elimination of the epidemic with DAAs would require near-universal testing and a 20% annual treatment rate.

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3. Better Options for Treating HCV Genotype 3 and Advanced Liver Disease

This year saw the emergence of new and better treatment options for people with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes other than 1 and for those with advanced liver disease.

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AASLD 2015: Grazoprevir/ Elbasvir Cures More than 90% of People with HIV/HCV Coinfection

Merck's grazoprevir/elbasvir combination cured 93% of people with HIV and hepatitis C coinfection, was well-tolerated, and did not appear to interact with antiretrovirals, according to final results from the C-EDGE Co-infection study presented at the 2015 AASLD Liver Meeting last month in San Francisco. These results confirm that HIV/HCV coinfected people respond as well to interferon-free therapy as those with HCV alone.

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AASLD 2015: U.S. Faces Biggest Burden of Hepatitis C Treatment Costs Before 2020

The cost of treating hepatitis C is likely to decline dramatically over the next decade in the U.S., not because of cuts in drug prices, but because the population in need of treatment will shrink by 2020 as a majority of patients will already have been treated, according to research by Jagpreet Chhatwal of Massachusetts General Hospital and colleagues presented at the AASLD Liver Meeting in San Francisco last month.

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AASLD 2015: High Cure Rate for People Retreated After Failure of Short Course DAA Therapy

Hepatitis C patients who did not achieve sustained virological response with a prior short course of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy had a high likelihood of being cured if treated again with sofosbuvir/ledipasvir standard therapy, according to results from the SYNERGY study presented at the 2015 AASLD Liver Meeting last week in San Francisco. A related analysis showed that emergence of certain drug-resistance mutations was common during very short therapy, but this did not appear to compromise response to retreatment.

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