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Technically possible to naturally clear Hep. C. during the chronic stage?
Apr 6, 2008

Dr. McGovern,

Some research I have done provides instances where people have naturally cleared hepatitis C up to two years after being infected. To my understanding these instances are rare but have occurred. Is it technically possible for someone to naturally clear hepatitis C after the acute stage? Furthermore, is it possible that the acute stage may actually last longer than six months?

Response from Dr. McGovern

You are absolutely right - Patients with acute HCV infection can clear HCV on their own - about 25% of the time.

Most of the patients who clear infection naturally - without treatment- do so within the first few months of infection.

There are some rare individuals who clear about 18 months after infection. Again these are rare cases.

The problem is that we prefer to treat patients who do not clear in the first 12 to 16 weeks before their acute HCV infection becomes "too old" - The best treatment responses - with cures of about 90% - occur with early treatment. We don't know the exact window period but think it is within the first six months of infection.



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