Sustained virological response represents a long-term cure for people with hepatitis C treated with sofosbuvir

Almost all patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) alone or HIV and HCV co-infection who achieved sustained virological response (SVR) to treatment with sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) plus ribavirin or sofosbuvir/ledipasvir (Harvoni) still had undetectable HCV RNA up to two years later, confirming that SVR represents a cure, according to a poster presented at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2015) in Seattle, USA.

The advent of interferon-free therapy using combinations of direct-acting antiviral drugs has brought about a revolution in hepatitis C treatment. Sustained virological response, or continued undetectable HCV RNA at 12 or 24 weeks post-treatment, is considered a cure, but rare cases of apparent late relapse have been observed after this point. (More often, HCV recurrence is due to reinfection.) 

While some studies have detected residual bits of HCV in the blood or the liver after successful treatment, this does not appear to indicate ongoing active disease. Interferon-based therapy has been shown to have a late relapse rate below 5% – usually occurring within two years after treatment – but this is not yet well defined for interferon-free therapy because it is so new.


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