New innovations in the treatment of hepatitis C
Treatment and prevention of hepatitis C are constantly being evaluated and researched for improvement potential. HealthMaker and hepatologist Christopher O'Brien, MD talks in this video about the future of the disease and how it will be handled.
CHRISTOPHER O'BRIEN: In the past, I think there was a perception that there might have been a stigma around hepatitis C. But at the present point in time,
the recognition is a large number of people actually have hepatitis C. They've not come forward
for one reason or another, probably a lot of having to do with the type of treatment that was available,
and also its unfortunate low rate of efficacy until recently. [ENERGETIC MUSIC]
Treatment is dramatically improved-- first, in the rate of success from 10% to 25%,
45%, around 75% most recently, and soon to be anywhere from 95% up to 100%.
So that's one advantage. The second is tolerability. The previous treatments somewhat lacked in tolerability
because they were injectables. But at this point in time, we're very excited that we will probably have oral therapy only
for hepatitis C pills. With the new treatments coming up, they should be simple enough that any internal medicine
physician should be able to administer them. That will be just a pill or two once
a day for three months with virtually no side effects; with a lot of the newer agents, no drug interactions.
It'll be like treating high blood pressure or high cholesterol. It will not be difficult.
The major issue, of course, will be the costs of the new therapies and how the third party payers
will look at this period. But I think with the competition coming up between the pharmaceutical companies, adjustment
and the cost will be made such that we'll be able to make this available to everybody who needs the treatment.
I'm very much an optimist. I'm not so sure I'm an optimist on the vaccine quite yet. The virus is very good at mutating its surface
and developing resistance to everything that we've tried so far. I may be wrong, but that's going to be a little bit more
of a difficult issue than the actual treatment of the disease. And unfortunately, once you get hepatitis C once,
it doesn't protect you against getting it again. You can get it again a week later. Get treated again yet a third time.
But there is still an unmet need for a vaccine. [AUDIO LOGO]
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