70 percent of hepatitis C cases curable with early treatment

Sydney, April 27 (Inditop) Up to 70 percent of hepatitis C cases are curable if early treatment is sought, according to a new international study.

The study by National Centre for HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (NCHECR) also found that a standard combination drug treatment was as effective as a stronger regimen of therapy associated with serious side-effects.

Advocacy group Hepatitis Australia estimates that more than 300,000 people in the country alone are infected with chronic hepatitis C, yet fewer than two percent receive treatment.

Most common routes of infection include contact with infected needles and sexual transmission.

The findings were part of a trial involving 702 patients from Australia, and 194 from New Zealand, Canada, Thailand, Argentina and Mexico. All had hepatitis C genotype 1 – the most difficult to treat.

Study co-author Greg Dore, professor at NCHECR, said early treatment was vital to prevent the onset of serious liver conditions. Hepatitis C is the principal reason for liver transplants in Australia, said an NCHECR release.

The study was a collaboration between NCHECR, drug company Roche and the Australian Liver Association.

These findings are slated for publication in Hepatology.