Introduction: The development and approval of direct-acting-antivirals (DAA) has revolutionized the treatment of hepatitis C within a few years and opened the door to a new era of shorter, well-tolerated but also highly expensive treatment options.
Areas covered: Nowadays, reductions of viral load below quantification limits may often be achieved within the first weeks of therapy. Viral breakthroughs during treatment are rarely observed and unfavourable viral genotypes or an advanced liver disease do not necessarily lower the prospect of eradication. For this reason, pan-genotypic DAA-only therapies are about to replace interferon/ribavirin-regimens as the standard of care worldwide. Expert commentary: Consequently, it has become essential to reevaluate the utility of HCV RNA quantification in predicting treatment outcomes and to guide clinical decisions. Is there still a need for a close-meshed monitoring or is it reasonable to limit HCV RNA monitoring to baseline and post-treatment results? This review discusses the pro- and contra arguments in this regard.
Keywords: HCV; RNA; assays; load; quantification; viral.