ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY MAY TREAT HEPATITIS C: RESEARCHERS
July 24 10:39
WASHINGTON,An antiretroviral therapy for HIV can treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) in patients co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C, Xinhua news agency reports quoting a study released Wednesday.Researchers from University of Cincinnati and elsewhere studied the two-year experiences of 17 co-infected patients as previous research showed that HIV antiretroviral therapy might injure the liver to the detriment of patient health.These patients had received approved HIV antiretroviral drug therapies, but underwent frequent evaluation and sampling of blood so that minor changes in the virus and immune response could be captured.The researchers observed an initial increase in a marker of liver injury called serum alanine aminotransferase, hepatitis C or both in a subset of patients during the first 16 weeks.However, over a period of 18 months, they found that viral loads for HCV declined to levels comparable to those seen in a patient infected with only HCV and not HIV.The findings showed that initial liver injury actually resulted from effective HIV treatment and not from toxicity."The drop in HCV viral levels was a big surprise and not what we necessarily expected," said lead author Kenneth Sherman, a professor at University of Cincinnati.In the United States, 200,000 to 300,000 people have HCV and HIV co-infection, while worldwide estimates range from four million to eight million people."The findings suggest that HIV suppression with antiretroviral medications play an important role in the management of individuals with HCV and HIV infection," Sherman said."It supports the concept that in those with HCV/HIV infection early and uninterrupted HIV therapy is a critical part of preventing liver disease," he
said.The study was published in the U.S. journal Science Translational Medicine.