1Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA.
Interferon has been the backbone of HCV treatment since this agent was first introduced nearly two decades ago. Interferon acts to eradicate HCV via two mechanisms: by directly inhibiting HCV replication via an indirect anti-viral mechanism and by modulating an immune response against hepatocytes infected with HCV. The current treatment of chronic HCV genotype 1 is the combination of peginterferon, ribavirin and a single direct acting anti-viral agent (DAA). Within the next 1-2 years multiple DAA combinations will eradicate and cure HCV at high rates without interferon. The role interferon will play in the next era of HCV treatment will depend upon balancing cost, efficacy and the development of an interferon with a more favorable adverse event profile.