Where Are We with Treatment for Hepatitis C?

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Well, now that we have a phenomenal advance in the treatment of Hepatitis C, which is really breathe taking, where you've gone from a disease in which the treatment was modestly effective, 40, 50, 60% with considerable toxicities of an interferon plus ribavirin that you had a gift for almost a year, for 48 weeks, and the results weren't very good and the incentive of people to go onto treatment programs because of the toxicities of the drug really made it a difficult situation. To now, you have direct acting agents which, as the months go by, it's shown that in combination you can get cure rates of 90 plus percent when you're treating them for 12 weeks or maybe even less.

There's one study that said you can go down even to six weeks in some instances. The fact that you can do that, that you now have curative, non-toxic therapy is the best reason in the world for a massive testing of people within a certain age group of that the CDC's recommendation, the baby-boomer group, that grouped to test them and identify people who were infected, because many people who were infected don't know they are infecte, and they only find out when they develop chronic liver disease and then you've already done significant damage, but right now to test people and to get them into medical care where you make a decision is it, appropriate to treat them when you have cured of therapy.

I think it's one of the most important advances in medicine in the last few decades is direct acting agents for Hepatitis C.