Long-term response to chronic hepatitis C treatment suggests complete recovery.
July 6, 2000
New York, July 5, 2000 (Praxis Press) The traditional treatment for chronic hepatitis C combines interferon alfa (3 million units subcutaneously three times a week) with ribavirin (1.0 or 1.2 g daily) for a duration of 6 to 12 months. Studies show that the rate of long-term response is 40 percent 6 months after the end of the treatment but do not document the issue of late relapse in sustained complete responders. In a 12–month follow–up study of patients after therapy, Hélène Fontaine and colleagues found that a virological response six months after discontinuation of the combination treatment is predictive of a 97.8 percent rate of long-term complete response (see paper). The study indicates that a sustained response -- defined as a normal concentration of serum alanine aminotransferase and negative HCV viraemia by PCR 6 months after discontinuation of therapy -- is associated 6 months later with an eradication of HCV RNA and a biochemical normalization and histopathological improvement that strongly suggest complete recovery, since there is no putative genomic integration of HCV RNA.
With its announced launch of a whole-exome sequencing service for apparently healthy individuals, Ambry Genetics is the latest company to enter this growing market. But whether these services are useful for most people remains up for debate.