Los Angeles Times (01.18.12) - Friday, January 20, 2012
A combination of antiviral drugs boosted treatment results for
hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients who had been unresponsive to
previous therapy, according to a preliminary study.
The open-label, Phase 2a trial involved 21 patients with
chronic HCV who were randomly assigned to receive two
antivirals, the NS5A replication complex inhibitor daclatasvir
(60 mg once daily) and the NS3 protease inhibitor asunaprevir
(600 mg twice daily), either alone or in combination with
peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin.
Among those receiving only the two antivirals, 36 percent had
a sustained virologic response (SVR) over 24 weeks of
treatment. All but one of the patients on the four-drug
combination achieved SVR after 24 weeks. Patients with HCV
genotype 1b had a particularly strong response to the
antivirals. Studies are ongoing to further evaluate
combinations of antivirals against HCV.
"Overall, these results suggest that further research with
combinations of direct-acting antiviral agents, with or
without [interferon] and ribavirin, is warranted," wrote lead
study author Dr. Anna S. Lok, of the University of Michigan
Medical Center, and colleagues.
"We are on the threshold of a treatment revolution that will
greatly improve the effectiveness of [HCV] therapy by
dramatically increasing the number of persons treated," Dr.
Raymond T. Chung, director of hepatology at Massachusetts
General Hospital, wrote in an accompanying editorial.
The report, "Preliminary Study of Two Antiviral Agents for
Hepatitis C Genotype 1," and the editorial, "A Watershed
Moment in the Treatment of Hepatitis C," were published in the
New England Journal of Medicine (2012;366:216-224 and 273-275,