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HCV viral load
Jan 22, 2006

hi Dr. M:

If HCV viral load is low in blood, does that mean it is also doing less and less (as viral load drops) damage to the liver as treatment progresses?

Response from Dr. McGovern

The hope is that with less and less virus, you obtain a healthier liver. We know that in patients who achieve and sustain a non-detectable virus load, that their livers get healthier over years.

However, there is no clear link between the amount of virus in your blood and the extent of liver disease when you have chronic hepatitis.

Studies have shown that the liver histology on baseline and follow up biopsies gets better on treatment. This is even true in about 40 percent of patients who do NOT have a viral load decline.

So I think the bottom line is that interferon is a very good drug for the liver due to its anti-inflammatory effect as well. If interferon and ribavirin lead to a sustained virus response, there is no more inflammation and the liver gets healthier over time.

Dr. M



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