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

to 18.6 percent of those in the placebo group at 12 weeks. However, by the 24th week, the placebo group had improved slightly and the difference between groups was not statistically significant.

The quality of life score, as measured by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire, improved continuously during treatment, and was more pronounced in the enterovirus/adenovirus subgroup than in the subgroup with parvovirus. Those findings also fell short of statistical significance when compared with placebo.

Researchers reported no safety issues. The study tested two different dosages of interferon. Because both dosages appeared equally effective in viral elimination, the researchers combined the results for both interferon groups into one group for comparison with the placebo group.

The 143 patients randomized to interferon or placebo all had chronic heart failure and the presence of one of three viruses -- adenovirus, enterovirus and parvovirus B19 -- as shown by specimens obtained by heart biopsy. A total of 131 patients completed the study, which required a second heart biopsy to determine viral load after treatment.

The researchers divided the participants into one of three treatment arms: the first two groups got one of two doses of interferon and the third received a placebo, an inactive medication indistinguishable from the interventional drug given subcutaneously (under the skin) every other day for 24 weeks.

The primary endpoint was the absence of adenovirus, enterovirus and parvovirus in biopsies taken an average of 12 weeks after treatment ended. For the parvovirus group, virus elimination was assessed with a quantitative assay. Schultheiss said IFNB-1b resulted in clearance of all enteroviruses and adenoviruses, but noted that parvovirus persisted in some of the double infected patients.

According to the definition of the primary endpoint, only patients with complete clearance of both viruses were calcula
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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