A promising hepatitis C cure, discovered by Canadian scientists, is capable of eradicating the virus in just 12 weeks.
The findings were revealed on Monday, November 16, in the New England Journal of Medicine. Apparently, the miracle drug consists in a mixture of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir, which must be administered on a daily basis for the entire duration of the treatment.
A team of researchers led by Dr. Jordan Feld, liver specialist at Toronto Western Hospital, conducted a randomized controlled trial, across 81 locations in 8 countries, in order to assess the potency of this medicine.
A total of 740 individuals suffering from hepatitis C (genotypes 1, 2, 4 5, 6) participated in this experiment. 624 of them were assigned to that sofosbuvir-velpatasvir treatment, while the rest were required to take a placebo for a period of 12 weeks.
At the end of the trial, it was discovered that among 99% of those who had been given the daily drug combination, the hepatitis C virus (HCV) could no longer be detected.
Moreover, sustained virological response (SVR), marked by the absence of the virus following the antiviral treatment, was proven to have persisted for 3 months after the study.
In contrast, none of the subjects included in the control group had been cured of hepatitis C following the experiment.
Researchers now believe that this revolutionary drug which successfully neutralizes so many strains of the virus might be the “one-size-fits-all treatment” that has been long-awaited by many.
According to them, it is extremely easy to administer this highly beneficial combination, since it’s delivered in a single tablet, to be ingested on a daily basis.
Moreover, tolerability among patients is extremely high, adverse effects being uncommon, insignificant, and overall greatly surpassed by the medicine’s undeniable benefits.
Nowadays, according to estimations released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 2.7 million people in the United States are affected by chronic hepatitis C.
HCV is transmitted following exposure to an infected person’s blood, usually after unsanitary blood transfusions, medical procedures using unsterile equipment, and intravenous drug abuse.
Chronic hepatitis C infections are extremely insidious, only making their presence felt after the onset of cirrhosis, when the liver’s functions are already severely compromised, after sustaining long-term damage.
Approximately half of those who have acquired this virus aren’t even aware that they have this condition, and when HCV is left untreated due to being undiagnosed, it can wreak havoc in the body.
As cirrhosis sets in, it initially displays no symptoms, but progressively it makes itself felt through lower leg edema, easy bruising, jaundice (yellow skin) and swollen, spider-like blood vessels.
Eventually, it causes fluid to build up and become infected in the abdomen, and it can also result in liver cancer, liver failure or hepatic encephalopathy (life-threatening hepatic coma).
While treatments designed for combating HCV had existed before, their effectiveness was usually unreliable, and there was no treatment capable of countering every genotype that this virus has.
Usually, before receiving health care, patients were required to undergo genetic testing, so that medical practitioners could choose the drug which responded best to the individual’s specific strain.
This caused many patients from more remote, rural areas to be unable to access treatment, or to wait too long for it, while their medical state worsened.
Now it appears that such examinations will no longer be necessary, since the newly invented medicine is equally effective in combating all HCV forms. This means that treatment could be delivered more promptly, without delay, and without diminishing its potency in any way.
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