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German and US Research team has announced 95 percent success rate for an experimental drug for treatment of Hepatitis C. The drug has been found effective even in patients who failed to respond to earlier treatment. The experimental drug therapy has been reported to be better-tolerated by patients, over a period of three months compared to interferon treatment which generally requires one year.
The drug termed as ABT-450 has been developed by AbbVie. The drug manufacturer has funded the study carried out by German doctors. The study results have been published in the April 10 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study team has also presented the clinical trial results at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in London.
The drug has been termed as breakthrough treatment by the research team as it has attained success in treating majority of patients. Hepatitis C infection results in liver cirrhosis and cancer in some cases. The ailment has been reported among 3 million people in the United States and 200,000 in the UK.
Hepatitis C can be passed on my infected person through body fluids and blood. People taking drugs and sharing needles have been urged by medical experts to stop with the practice.
The new oral drug was tested on 380 patients at 78 different locations in Germany, Spain, England and the US. The study team has reported complete cure for 191 patients out of 208 after 12 weeks of treatment. After 24 weeks, the success rate was found to be 96 percent.
Dr. Stefan Zeuzem, professor of medicine at the J.W. Goethe University Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany said, “Interferon is no longer required to cure hepatitis C.”
The new drug has been found to offer better results compared to Interferon treatment, which causes side effects including fatigue and flu-like symptoms.
However, the major issue with the treatment will be the high cost. Earlier, Sovaldi has been criticized by US lawmakers for high treatment cost. At $1000 per day expense, the three month treatment with Sovaldi costs more than $90,000. Gilead Sciences, the maker of Sovaldi has been criticized by insurance companies in the United States for keeping very high profit margin for the treatment.
The cost of current treatment has not been clarified till now. However, it is also expected to cost high. If the cost of treatment remains high, most of the patients will not be able to afford the new treatment ABT-450 for Hepatitis C.