Antiretroviral Therapy Heightens Long-Term Hepatitis C Virus Diversity
February 21, 2003
Researchers in California warn that HIV treatment can exacerbate long-term hepatitis C infection. Jennifer M. Babik and colleagues at Stanford University-Stanford and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto evaluated the long-term impact of HAART on HIV/HCV coinfected patients. The investigators evaluated data from three groups: Group A patients were antiretroviral-naïve at baseline but received HAART for the rest of the study; Group B patients were never exposed to antiretrovirals; and Group C patients received HAART throughout the study period.Adapted from:
After extensive treatment, Babik and coauthors found, patients carried larger and more diverse HCV populations. Study data showed that group C patients showed significantly more HCV genetic variation than those in other groups; they also had slightly higher HCV loads. Group C patients also carried significantly higher numbers of CD4 and CD8 cells.
Babik and colleagues correlated CD4 cell count with HCV load and diversity in all study participants. "These results suggest that there is no immediate effect of HAART on HCV but that, with prolonged HAART, immune restoration results in an increase in HCV load and quasispecies diversity," Babik and colleagues concluded. The full report, "Impact of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy and Immunologic Status on Hepatitis C Virus Quasispecies Diversity in Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Hepatitis C Virus-Coinfected Patients," was published in the Journal of Virology (2003;77(3):1940-1950).
02.07.03; Michael Greer