Stop us if you've heard this story before: A virus spreads that causes a chronic condition in humans. Over a span of years, it causes progressive damage that can often result in death. Researchers develop drugs to keep the virus at bay, but at first, the drugs are highly toxic and a major hassle to take. Then, seemingly all at once, a new generation of medications is developed that makes living with the virus manageable.
That is, of course, the story of HIV treatment in a nutshell. And now, thanks to major developments in 2013, it may be the story of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment as well.
We've known about HCV about as long as we've known about HIV, but treatments for HCV have been much slower to develop. The standard of care throughout the first decade of this century, peg-interferon plus ribavirin, had a low success rate and was often associated with brutal side effects.
Last year, the U.S. approval of Incivek (telaprevir) and Victrelis (boceprevir) opened a new window on HCV treatment for people with HIV (up to a third of whom also have HCV). This year, the approvals of Olysio (simeprevir) and Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) have ushered in a fresh new breeze of hope.
Read the full story >>