Dr Karine Lacombe, an associate professor at Saint-Antrine Hospital, Inserm, France, says the new treatment for Hepatitis C is effective in Africa from results of preliminary clinical trials in the region.
Lacombe made the disclosure at the ongoing 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris, on Monday.
Lacombe said that such was achievable with good adherence, good safety and a laboratory follow-up that would pose no particular difficulty.
“The treatment of chronic Hepatitis C by Direct-Acting Antivirals (DAAs) is possible in the African context with good adherence, good safety and a laboratory follow-up that poses no particular difficulty,” she said.
Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis virus and of various types.
Lacombe said that the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS) had conducted the first trial designed to assess the efficacy and safety of the new anti-HCV treatments in sub-Saharan countries.
She said that the test conducted in three African countries – Cameroun, Cote d’lvoire and Senegal – revealed that the efficacy achieved was very close to that seen in the developed countries.
“Prof. Alain Attia of CHU Yopougon, Abidjan in Cote d’lvoire and myself ran the trial. It included 120 patients with chronic Hepatitis C, who had never been treated for the infection.
“Each of the three most frequent HCV genotypes (1, 2 and 4) were represented by 40 patients. Patients with genotype 2 HCV were treated with the DAA sofobuvir plus ribavirin.
“Those with genotype 1 or 4 HCV were given a combination of 2 DAAs (sofobuvir and ledipasvir) in the form of a single tablet for 12 weeks.
“The preliminary results presented today relate to 110 patients, 32 of whom were HIV/HCV-co-infected and 11 of whom had hepatitis C at the stage of compensated cirrhosis,’’ she said.
Lacombe said that the interim analysis found a sustained 89 per cent virology response in all patients after 24 weeks of follow-up.
She said that “the only patient who discontinued treatment after eight weeks of follow-up was nonetheless cured with no severe adverse effect observed.”
Similarly, Prof. Framcois Dabis, the Director, ANRS, has decried lack of data on the efficacy of the drugs in resource-limited countries.
“The first results of the ANRS TAC trial now argue strongly that access to DAAs should be extended without delay to HCV-infected patients in Africa and other resource-limited countries,’’ Dabis said.