Department of Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of Chicago Medical Center, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC7120, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
Therapy for hepatitis C has been fairly stagnant for the past decade, but the past few years have seen major progress and evolution, beginning with the approval of two HCV protease inhibitors in 2011. In spite of considerable improvements in response rates with these agents, a need for additional agents with improved potency and tolerability remains. Toward this goal and over the course of just a few months, the HCV therapy pipeline has already become crowded with direct-acting antivirals, host-targeted agents and unique interferons, all of which are positioned to be part of the next wave of therapeutic options. The ultimate goal of this push for new agents is to achieve a safe and straight forward yet highly effective therapy for hepatitis C that is widely embraced and readily available. Particularly among the 'baby boomer' population, it is predicted that over the next few years, more patients with currently quiescent infections will be newly diagnosed, and those currently diagnosed will be at increased risk of long-term complications of infection, and thus in need of treatment. A simple and safe treatment paradigm will become a necessity. This Review chronicles the latest developments in hepatitis C therapy and the potential effect these new treatments could have on delivery of care to patients infected with HCV.