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Viral Load Less than 6000
Jun 7, 2004

Hi,

Please tell me whether this is positive news. My father got infected with Hep C last year because of a blood transfusion. His viral load level was 100000. He started on Pegasys and Copegus and after 3 injections his blood sample was sent for genotyping. Now the person at the lab says that his genotyp cannot be determined because his viral load has become less than 6000. Is this a sign that treatment is working? Also the doctor has recommeneded that his treatment be put on hold for a few days because of low platelet count. Is this standard?

Thanks,

Response from Dr. McGovern

Yes this is very good news.

It appears that your father's viral load went from 100,000 to some low number after only 3 injections. Usually physicians check for hepatitis C viral load after 12 weeks of treatment to see if there is a significant drop but your father has accomplished that in a very short time.

I suspect that your father's viral load may be <6,000 since genotyping can usually be performed on this type of sample. Genotyping is important and is used to gauge how long to treat the patient. For genotype 2 or 3, the duration of treatment is 6 months. For genotype 1 treatment is 48 weeks.

It is standard sometimes to hold treatment for a "low" platelet count. For platelet counts <50,000 treatment with pegasys is decreased to 90 micrograms per week. For platelet counts less than 25,000, treatment is stopped.

Dr. McGovern



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