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Interferon Reduces, Eliminates Viral Infections in Heart Failure Patients
Date:11/11/2008

Study highlights:

- Interferon eliminated specific causes of some viruses in heart failure patients, improving their clinical outcomes.

- Treatment improved cardiac function and quality of life and showed no apparent safety concerns.

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Giving interferon to heart failure patients with evidence of a chronic viral infection safely eliminated two viruses from their systems and reduced levels of a third virus. Additionally, there were trends toward improved cardiac function and quality of life, but these did not reach significance at 24 weeks, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2008. Results from the Effect of Subcutaneous Treatment with Interferon-Beta-1b over 24 weeks on Safety, Virus Elimination and Clinical Outcome in Patients with Chronic Viral Cardiomyopathy study were presented as a late-breaking clinical trial.

"These results from our randomized trial provide the first evidence that interferon beta-1b (IFNB-1b) treatment eliminates cardiotropic viruses and may improve the clinical outcomes of patients with chronic enteroviral and adenoviral heart disease," said Heinz Peter Schultheiss, M.D., the lead author of the study and a professor of medicine in the Department of Cardiology and Pneumology at Charite - University Medicine of Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin in Berlin, Germany.

The double-blind Phase II study included 143 patients at 31 medical centers in seven European countries.

Investigators also found a reduction in the viral load for parvovirus, but not evidence for elimination.

Researchers found that patients infected with adenovirus, enterovirus and/or parvovirus B19 who received IFNB-1b were about twice as likely to have improved symptoms 12 weeks after treatment ended. They found that 38.6 percent of the interferon patients had an improved New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional classification as compared
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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