National Reference Center for Viral Hepatitis B, C and D, Department of Virology, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Université Paris-Est, Créteil, France. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Direct-acting antiviral drugs targeting two major steps of the HCV life cycle, polyprotein processing and replication, and cyclophilin inhibitors, that target a host cell protein required to interact with the replication complex, have reached clinical development. In order to achieve a sustained virological response, that is, a cure of the HCV infection, it is necessary to shut down virus production, to maintain viral inhibition throughout treatment and to induce a significant, slower second-phase decline in HCV RNA levels that leads to definitive clearance of infected cells. Recent findings suggest that the interferon era is coming to an end in hepatitis C therapy and HCV infection can be cured by all-oral interferon-free treatment regimens within 12 to 24 weeks. Further results are awaited that will allow the establishment of an ideal first-line all-oral, interferon-free treatment regimen for patients with chronic HCV infection.