Beyond interferon: rationale and prospects for newer treatment paradigms for chronic hepatitis C

Ther Adv Chronic Dis. 2015 Jan;6(1):4-14. doi: 10.1177/2040622314551934.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection results in a chronic carrier state in 80% of individuals infected with the virus and presently affects over 170 million people worldwide. Approximately 20% of those chronically infected will ultimately progress to develop cirrhosis and death due to end-stage liver disease or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Unlike many other chronic viral infections, effective treatments for HCV are available. Cure from the infection is known as a sustained virologic response (SVR). SVR is associated with reversal of the long-term outcomes of chronic liver disease, decrease in incidence of HCC, and decrease HCV attributable mortality. The current FDA approved therapies for hepatitis C virus genotype 1 (GT-1) include pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) in combination with a directly acting antiviral agent (DAA). New therapeutic advances are being made aiming to simplify management, improve the tolerability of treatment, and shorten the duration of therapy. Moreover, treatment regimens that will effectively eradicate hepatitis C without the use of interferon formulations (IFN) are being developed. In this review, we report the transition of HCV therapeutics from an interferon-α based combination therapy to an all-oral, directly acting antiviral therapy.

Keywords: boceprevir; hepatitis C; pegylated interferon; ribavirin; simeprevir; sofosbuvir; sustained virologic response; telaprevir.

Publication types

  • Review