Hepatitis C treatment better understood


A recent study out of New Mexico is helping researchers better understand the workings of a remarkably fast-acting hepatitis C drug.


In the spotlight is daclatasvir, a developmental antiviral agent that’s been shown to dramatically lower viral loads in just one dose. The drug is so effective that according to Los Alamos National Laboratory, one dose of daclatasvir could cause a thousand-fold decrease in viral levels within 12 hours. A specific hepatitis C virus (HCV) protein called NS5A was at the center of the study, which was led by Los Alamos. According to the research institute, daclatasvir (developed by pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb) is the most potent NS5A inhibitor to date. The study revealed the drug to work in two important ways when combating the virus. In simplest terms, it impedes two critical points of the viral lifecycle – the synthesizing of new viral genomes, as well as the release of the virus from infected cells. Quite notably, the study also suggested that HCV’s daily viral production is four times larger than commonly believed. According to the CDC, approximately 3.2 million people in the United States suffer from chronic hepatitis C.  By Marianne Hayes

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