Hepatitis C is a disease brought on by infection with HCV, hepatitis
C virus. The virus displays hepatocyte tropism, and it can lead to liver damage that requires liver transplant for treatment. 1
A recent study published in The Lancet has identified a more effective and cost-permissive treatment for HCV, particularly in areas where standard oral treatments are unavailable or too expensive.
Currently, Telaprevir is a common protease inhibitor used against HCV. Proteases are ideal targets because HCV, a member of the family Flaviviridae, relies on protease processing of polyprotein products for replication.
However, Telaprevir must be taken up to three times a day, and it can be quite expensive. Thus, researchers from The Lancet showed that Simeprevir (another protease inhibitor) is effective against HCV, and it only needs to be taken once a day.
Patients in the study were randomly assigned to treatments, and treatments were double blind. Patients received either Telaprevir with a Simeprevir placebo or Simeprevir with a Telaprevir placebo.
The results of the study indicated that the simpler treatment with Simeprevir similarly effective as Telaprevir. Moreover, fewer patients experienced drug-related side effects with Simeprevir.
The results of this study suggest that Simeprevir is a viable alternative for treating HCV in under-resourced and impoverished areas.