March 7, 2011
Substantially more HIV/hepatitis C virus co-infected patients taking the investigational HCV drug telaprevir achieved a rapid viral response (RVR) than those taking standard therapy alone, researchers reported at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston. RVR, defined as undetectable HCV after four weeks of treatment, can be an early indicator of eventually attaining a sustained viral response (SVR).
In previous trials, telaprevir has improved rates of SVR when used in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s drug is awaiting approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
The small, mid-stage trial presented at the conference involved 60 hepatitis C patients co-infected with HIV who were either taking antiretroviral therapy or not (non-ARV).
At four weeks, 70 percent taking combination HCV therapy with telaprevir achieved RVR, compared with just 5 percent on standard HCV therapy. Of patients taking Atripla, 75 percent achieved RVR on the telaprevir combination, versus one patient (12.5 percent) in the control arm. Of HIV patients taking Reyataz, 64 percent had RVR and no one did in the control arm. In non-ARV patients, 71 percent in the telaprevir group achieved RVR compared with none on standard therapy.
SVR data are expected next year, Vertex said.