The National Center for Biotechnology Information has released incredible results for a new oral drug treatment for Hepatitis C.
The not-yet-available drug combo displayed a 90% success rate of completely curing patients with the Hepatitis C virus. Patients with HIV and Hepatitis C combination infections saw a 75% cure rate when utilizing another drug (HCV inhibitor.)
This is an incredibly promising advancement in the fight against a disease, which affects thousands of people. Hepatitis C is a chronic viral infection of the liver, which can be sexually transmitted, and frequently causes liver failure and cancer. Current treatments require patients to inject themselves with Interferon weekly for several months, depending on genotypes.
So far, success rates at killing the virus have been low, and with a large portion of the population unable to attain a definitive escape from infection. Furthermore, the drugs currently used have several side effects, including anemia, body aches and fever. To have an oral drug treatment option available, with a massive success margin and no side effects is a huge scientific boon.
The drug seems to currently be in the final "Phase III" of clinical trials. Once the data is examined by the FDA, the approval process may take another 6 months to a year. Add another year for production, and we should be seeing a product on the shelves by 2015.
Too often, we are inundated with conspiracy theories that pharmaceutical companies are motivated by millions of dollars of research to subvert cures, and release long term treatments instead. Alternatively, they are often accused of not releasing effective drugs, because they don’t want to share profits with companies that also own similar drug patents — instead delaying products to develop a new option and own more revenue potential.
For those that have more faith in our scientific researchers, it is an affirming and welcome surprise to hear such promising news.