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Reuters Health Information (2009-03-19): Sustained viral response indicates HCV infection cure


Sustained viral response indicates HCV infection cure

Last Updated: 2009-03-19 19:30:29 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A 4-year follow-up of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who achieve a sustained viral response (SVR) to interferon-alpha-2b "strongly suggests" that they are "cured," French investigators report in the April issue of Liver International.

Dr. Sarah Maylin and colleagues at Hopital Beaujon in Clichy, France, followed 157 patients with chronic HCV infection who achieved SVR after treatment with interferon-alpha-2b and a control group of 23 patients with detectable HCV RNA and normal serum alanine levels. HCV viral titers and HCV antibodies were measured periodically during 4 years of follow-up.

Serum HCV RNA levels remained undetectable in all patients and HCV antibody titers remained unchanged throughout follow-up.

"This long-term study...demonstrated that durable, and HCV antibodies were markedly decreased (mainly those directed against the non-structural proteins), emphasizing an absence of ongoing infection," Dr. Maylin and colleagues write.

"These results strongly suggest that HCV infection (is) cured in patients who achieve an SVR," the researchers say.

The findings show that the humoral immune response to non-structural HCV proteins is short-lived and might be a marker of infected cells," the French investigators say. "A decrease in the antibodies against the (nonstructural) proteins, observed in our study, could reflect a decrease in infected cells, suggesting that there is no antigenic stimulation after viral eradication."

Liver Int 2009;29:511-517.

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