New Treatment For Hepatitis C Set To Be Introduced In Nigeria
- Ngozi Oguejiofor
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A new treatment for Hepatitis C has been recommended to be extended, to other Sub-Saharan African countries, after clinical trials proved effective in three countries of the region.
Karine Lacombe, an associate professor at Saint-Antrine Hospital, Inserm, France, made the disclosure at the ongoing Ninth IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris on Monday.
She said the test conducted in three African countries – Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal – revealed that the efficacy achieved was very close to that seen in the developed countries.
“The treatment of chronic Hepatitis C by Direct-Acting Antivirals (DAAs) is possible in the African context with good adherence, good safety and a laboratory follow-up that poses no particular difficulty,” she said.
Ms Lacombe said that the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS) had conducted the first trial designed to assess the efficacy and safety of the new anti-HCV treatments in sub-Saharan countries.
“Each of the three most frequent HCV genotypes (1, 2 and 4) were represented by 40 patients.
Patients with genotype 2 HCV were treated with the DAA sofosbuvir plus ribavirin.
“Those with genotype 1 or 4 HCV were given a combination of 2 DAAs (sofosbuvir and Ledipasvir) in the form of a single tablet for 12 weeks.
“The preliminary results presented today relate to 110 patients, 32 of whom were HIV/HCV-co-infected and 11 of whom had hepatitis C at the stage of compensated cirrhosis,’’ she said.
Ms Lacombe said that the interim analysis found a sustained 89 per cent virology response in all patients after 24 weeks of follow-up.
She said that “the only patient who discontinued treatment after eight weeks of follow-up was nonetheless cured with no severe adverse effect observed.”
Similarly, Francois Dabis, the Director, ANRS, called attention to the lack of data on the efficacy of the drugs in resource-limited countries.
“The first results of the ANRS TAC trial now argue strongly that access to DAAs should be extended without delay to HCV-infected patients in Africa and other resource-limited countries,’’ Mr Dabis said.
Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis virus and of various types.