News from Hepatitis Week of March 23, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 12

Study: Interferon Produces Varying Responses in Hepatitis C Patients

Another study has found that hepatitis C patients with the genotype 1 form of the disease do not fare as well as those with other genotypes when it comes to being treated with interferon and ribavirin.

As reported in the April 1 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, a team of researchers from China and Belgium found that genotype 6 patients responded better to this combination treatment than genotype 1 patients.

Genotype 1 is the most common form of hepatitis C, encompassing up to 75 percent of all infections in the United States. Genotype 1 patients also have a history of not responding as well to treatment as those with other forms of the disease. Little is known about genotype 6, which occurs mainly in certain areas of Asia.

Researchers conducted a prospective study to compare the effect of interferon and ribavirin therapy among patients of these two genotypes. Of the 40 patients studied, 16 had genotype 6 and 24 had genotype 1.

All of the patients were treated with interferon and ribavirin for 12 months. A sustained virological response to the treatment was present in 10 or 62.5 percent of the genotype 6 patients but only seven or 29 percent of the genotype 1 patients.

The researchers said future trials should be performed to determine whether just six months of combination therapy would be adequate for patients with genotype 6.

Other sources: Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2003;187:1071-1074