A large multi-center clinical trial has found that a combination of antiviral medications can eradicate hepatitis C infection in more than 90 percent of patients with advanced liver disease. Known as the ASTRAL-4 trial, the study was co-led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Intermountain Medical Center and published online November 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
“More than half of the patients in the study had failed a prior course of treatment for hepatitis C infection,” says co-principal investigator Michael Curry, MD, director of hepatology and medical director of liver transplantation at BIDMC and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Our trial showed that using a daily combination of the antiviral medications Sofosbuvir and Velpatasvir, with or without the addition of Ribavirin for 12 weeks or 24 weeks, successfully treated Hepatitis C in 83 percent to 94 percent of patients.”
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects between 130 and 150 million individuals worldwide and is a common cause of liver failure and cirrhosis, which develops when healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue, eventually preventing the liver from carrying out its functions.