Hepatitis C comprises several different strains of the virus; in fact, there are six genotypes (numbered 1-6) which infect people. The hepatitis C medications available today generally work best for only one or a few genotypes. Thus, identifying a patient’s genotype remains an essential part of the diagnostic process, since that determines, in large part, which medication offers a patient the best chance of a cure.
The potential for one medication (containing a single drug or combination of drugs) to successfully treat all types of hepatitis C has intrigued hepatitis C researchers for many years. Gilead Sciences believes they may be closing in on just such a medication. Gilead has completed four phase III clinical studies based on a one-a-day pill containing a combination of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir (an investigational NS5A inhibitor).
When looking at a group of 624 patients who had any of the six genotypes of hepatitis C, the drug combo resulted in sustained virological response (SVR) at 12 weeks 99% of the time. In other words, virtually every patient was cured by the same medication, regardless of the genotype of each patient.
It won’t be long, perhaps, until one pill can cure anyone with hepatitis C, regardless of genotype. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already granted this drug combination “breakthrough” status to expedite its potential approval.
Bloomfield D. Gilead’s hepatitis C drug works against all strains in trial. Hepatitis Central Sept 22, 2015.
Schu B. New hepatitis C combination shows stellar results across all genotypes. HCPLive Sept 30, 2015.