Hepatitis C medications cure nearly all cases.
Newer treatments for hepatitis C appear to eliminate the virus in the vast majority of those taking oral antiviral medications, raising the hope that this disease might someday be eradicated in the United States.
The oral medications “work really well in most patients that have hepatitis C,” said Dr. Oluwaseun Falade-Nwulia, the study’s lead author. She’s an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Most people have a 95 percent chance of being cured, meaning the hepatitis C virus is no longer detectable in a person’s bloodstream, the finding showed.
Plus, many patients can be treated in just 12 weeks, according to the study published online in the March 20 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
“It’s revolutionary,” Falade-Nwulia said.
But scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health caution that the new treatments fall short of a “cure.”
“Hepatitis C is down but not out,” Drs. Jay Hoofnagle and Averell Sherker concluded in an editorial accompanying the study. They are program directors with the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Response rates to the new antivirals are high, but they’re not 100 percent, meaning tens of thousands of patients remain infected, the editorialists wrote.
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