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duration effectiveness of Interferon therapy
Jul 13, 2004

Hi..I have genotype I HCV. I've been on Intron A and peg intron therapies. Now I'm on the new infergen/copegus therapy. For seven months the viral load was dropping dramatically, from 11 mil to 1700. My last labs revealed that the VL went up a little to 2000 after a 6 week interval between the last two tests. Have there ever been tests that prove that the virus can be cleared out this slowly? I believe I saw a study that revealed that if the virus is not cleared in 12 weeks it won't be cleared out, is this true? Can we expect other variations of interferons to help us non-responders (or slow responders)?

thank you for your information


Response from Dr. McGovern

You are correct to be concerned that you still have virus at 7 months of treatment. There are studies suggesting that if you haven't cleared by 12 weeks that the chance of virologic "cure" is low.

However, I don't believe there are data regarding 12 week levels and infergen as far as I know.

Also there is another benefit of any interferon therapy. Many studies show that even in patients who do not respond virologically at all, that their liver biopsies look healthier after interferon treatment. I suspect your liver is obtaining benefit since the virus is going down,even if you haven't cleared.

In the future there will also be newer therapies for hepatitis C. Stay tuned.

Dr. McGovern

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