A combination of two treatments effective at 97% to treat hepatitis C and 93% less expensive than current treatments, was discovered in Malaysia.
71 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C according to the World Health Organization (WHO): 400,000 people die every year.
Today, the available treatments are extremely expensive. It takes about 35,000 dollars for eight to twelve weeks of care. Research conducted by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative attests to the effectiveness of a new combination of treatments to treat the disease, much cheaper than the drugs used so far.
The researchers tested the effectiveness of the combination of sofosbuvir and ravidasvir in Malaysia at a cost of $300 for 12 weeks. That’s 93% cheaper than current treatments. At the end of the 12-week trial, 97% of patients were cured, including patients with multiple risk factors (cirrhosis, HIV-positive patients, etc.).
Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver caused by the HCV virus. The virus can lead to a state of chronic carriage, which can lead many years later to serious complications: cirrhosis and liver cancer. Chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus affects about 1% of the world’s population (71 million people) and is responsible for 400,000 deaths per year due to the severe course of the disease.
Currently, recent direct-acting antiviral drugs can treat chronic hepatitis C 95% of the time if taken in time. In 2016, WHO had published a plan to eliminate this threat to public health by 2030. The major challenge to meet this ambitious goal, however, remains the screening of asymptomatic patients, especially in low-income countries, where access to conventional tests remains limited.