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Hepatitis C

EASL 2015: Merck HCV Combination Effective after Failure of First Generation Direct-Acting Antivirals

Treatment for 12 weeks with grazoprevir and elbasvir, 2 direct-acting antivirals being development by Merck, plus ribavirin, cured 95% of people with hepatitis C who had experienced failure of a previous combination containing an HCV protease inhibitor, Xavier Forns of the University of Barcelona Hospital Clinic reported the at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) 50th International Liver Congress this week in Vienna.

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EASL 2015: International Liver Congress Now Underway in Vienna

The European Association for the Study of the Liver's International Liver Congress (EASL 2015) takes place April 22-26 at the Reed Messe Wien Centre in Vienna, Austria. The annual meeting -- one of the key scientific conferences covering hepatitis B and C and its complications -- is observing its 50th year. Look for breaking news coverage from HIVandHepatitis.com and our partners at Aidsmap.com starting Friday at www.HIVandHepatitis.com and via @HIVandHepatitis on Twitter. Abstracts and other information are available on the International Liver Congress website.

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Janssen Interferon-Free Regimen with Simeprevir Cures Most Patients with Genotype 1 HCV

A 12-week all-oral regimen containing the FDA-approved HCV protease inhibitor simeprevir (Olysio) plus 2 investigational direct-acting antivirals drugs being developed by Janssen cured up to 95% of people with genotype 1 hepatitis C, according to study findings presented at the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL) conference last month in Istanbul.

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ASCEND Study Looks at Community-based Hepatitis C Treatment

A new trial sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health will evaluate whether primary care physicians and other health care providers such as nurse practitioners can provide interferon-free therapy for hepatitis C as effectively as hepatologists or infectious disease specialists. If successful, community-based care could greatly expand the number of people able to access treatment.

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CROI 2015: Good Sofosbuvir/Ledipasvir Adherence in SYNERGY and ERADICATE Trials

Overall adherence rates ranged from 96% to nearly 100% in 2 clinical trials of sofosbuvir/ledipasvir (Harvoni) treatment in an urban population of hepatitis C and HIV/HCV coinfected patients traditionally considered difficult to treat, researchers reported at the recent 2015 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle. Adherence dropped off over time, however, underlining the importance of short-duration therapy.

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Allergy Drug Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus Replication in Mouse Study

The over-the-counter allergy medication chlorcyclizine HCl, or CCZ, was found to be a potent inhibitor of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1b and 2a replication, according to a laboratory study described in the April 8 edition of Science Translational Medicine. The study authors suggest that this older drug could potentially be an affordable component of combination treatment. A Phase 1 clinical trial is now underway.

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CROI 2015: HCV Sexual Transmission Linked to Anal Sex, Drug Use, Lower CD4 Count

In addition to the usual risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) sexual transmission seen in most previous studies -- such as anal sex and having other sexually transmitted infections -- researchers in the Netherlands also saw an association with nasal and injection drug use and lower CD4 T-cell count, they reported in a poster presentation at the recent 2015 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle.

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CROI 2015: HCV Viral Load and Speed of Decline Do Not Predict Cure with Interferon-Free Therapy

Direct-acting antiviral regimens containing sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) and the drugs in Viekira Pak were highly effective regardless of how soon HCV viral load became undetectable after starting treatment, according to research presented at the recent 2015 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). Furthermore, even having low-level detectable HCV RNA at the end of treatment does not preclude a cure, the investigators for a related study concluded.

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FDA Warns of Heart Risk When Combining Amiodarone with Sovaldi or Harvoni

The new oral hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir, either in the sofosbuvir/ ledipasvir coformulation (Harvoni) or with other direct-acting antivirals, should not be taken with the anti-arrhythmic medication amiodarone, the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) and Gilead Sciences warned after several patients developed decreased heart rate (bradycardia) and 1 had a fatal heart attack when they combined these drugs.

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