HIVandHepatitis.com coverage of the 49th European Association for the Study of the Liver's International Liver Congress (EASL 2014) in London, April 9-13, 2014.
Conference highlights include new interferon-free treatments for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and delta, and management of liver disease complications such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcioma.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced last week that it will stop selling its HCV protease inhibitor telaprevir (Incivek or Incivo) as of October 16, 2014. While the first generation direct-acting antivirals are more effective than pegylated interferon plus ribavirin alone, they are no match for newer drugs such as Gilead Sciences' sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) or AbbVie's forthcoming "3D" regimen in terms of efficacy or tolerability.
A pair of presentations at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne described new pathways being explored in the search for either a permanent cure for HIV or for longer-acting drugs. In one study, 2 artificial genes that cause cells to generate antiviral entry inhibitors produced significant inhibition of cellular infection. In the other, a technique that is the exact opposite of the much-explored "kick and kill" strategy (which uses drugs to activate cells latently infected with HIV) used an artificial gene fragment to maintain latently infected cells in a locked-down state that resisted strong immune stimulation.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens consisting of 1 pill taken once-daily -- known as single-tablet regimens -- were not associated with a longer time to treatment discontinuation when compared to some other modern, well-tolerated regimens that involve more pills or twice-daily dosing, according to a study presented at the 20th International AIDS Conference last month in Melbourne.