However, studies have shown that achieving a virologic response in chronic HCV is much more dependent on the dose of IFN-α/PegIFN-α,, than RBV,,,,. As such, PegIFN-α free therapy is highly anticipated by healthcare professionals and patients alike.
EASL's Secretary General Professor Mark Thursz commented on the exciting new data being showcased at the congress: "In the future, patients can look forward to all oral treatment regimens with high success rates and low side effects. Furthermore, there is a large cohort of patients with more advanced liver disease who will now be able to access treatment that was previously impossible due to the side effects of Interferon-alpha. Over the last five years we have seen an evolution in HCV treatment, with direct antivirals used in combination with Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin. Interferon-free regimes truly represent a revolution in treatment."
Separate data presented at the congress may provide a further option. New results from a phase IIb study show a different form of interferon - pegylated Interferon-lambda (PegIFN-λ) - administered with RBV for 24 weeks in HCV GT2 & 3 patients gives comparable SVR24 (undetectable HCV RNA levels 24 weeks after treatment) to PegIFN-α-2a and RBV, but with fewer side effects (musculoskeletal and flu-like symptoms, hematologic toxicity) and dose modifications for PegIFN or RBV.
Professor Thursz commented: "It remains possible that a number of patients will still need interferon based therapy for their HCV infection. Interferon-lambda, with a better side effect profile, looks like an excellent option in this group of patients, who are likely to have more advanced disease."
SOURCE European Association for the Study of the Liver
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