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SA Researchers Find More Effective Way To Treat Hepatitis C

UT Health Science Center

A San Antonio research team has uncovered a way to cure the deadly Hepatitis C – promising shorter treatments and fewer side effects than today’s standard treatment.

Hepatitis C can be treated today with a battery of interferon interventions treatments -- which takes 48 weeks and the side effects are debilitating -- but a new treatment using a combination of drugs needs only 12 weeks to kill the virus with much fewer side effects.

“We found that a cocktail of all oral medications -- just pills, no injections -- yielded cure rates that were higher than what we’ve seen with our conventional therapies,” said Dr. Fred Poordad, a professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

Poordad is the lead author of the study about the treatment published in the New England Journal of Medicine. He said the breakthrough makes treating Hepatitis C much easier, but the biggest problem with the disease still exists – that many people are infected and don’t know it.

“Most Americans who are infected have not yet been discovered so getting out there and getting tested, which is a simple blood test, is step number one," he said.

The new treatment is still in a testing phase and Poordad said it should be available to the public in 2014. He said it appears that medical science is about to completely conquer Hep-C.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi