First case worldwide of transmission of Hepatitis C virus resistant to the recently approved drugs | Fight AIDS Foundation

First case worldwide of transmission of Hepatitis C virus resistant to the recently approved drugs

29/07/2014

In 2011, new drugs against Hepatitis C virus, as Telaprevir and Boceprevir, were approved, offering new cure opportunities for infected patients. These new and more efficient drugs are the so-called direct-acting antiviral drugs against hepatitis C virus. Importantly, in the last months, a new generation of direct-acting antiviral drugs appeared: SofosbuvirDaclatasvir and Simeprevir. They are more potent and show a higher level of success to cure Hepatitis C virus infection.

Recently, researchers from the Institute for AIDS Research IrsiCaixa and the Fight Against AIDS Foundation have documented for the first time worldwide the sexual transmission of a variant of the hepatitis C virus that is resistant to direct-acting antiviral drugs. The article, published in the journal Gastroenterology on July 25, describes a case observed at the HIV Unit of the Germans Trias Hospital, where IrsiCaixa and the Fight Against Foundation are located.

The transmission of Hepatitis C virus resistant to these new drugs from one patient to another diminishes their capacity of curing hepatitis C virus infection, lengthens the duration of the treatment and, what is more important, affects quality of life of patients with a higher probability of health complications. As the IrsiCaixa researcher Miguel Angel Martínez, co-coordinator of the study, says, “this leads to a decrease of the cost-efficiency of these new drugs, to higher expenses for the health system, and therefore it can be an important clinical and public health problem”.

The study has documented a case of re-infection by sexual transmission of a resistant variant of hepatitis C virus from a patient (A) to his partner (B). Both men are co-infected with HIV, and had previously been exposed to the new treatments through different clinical trials to treat hepatitis C virus infection. Patient B was cured, but the current study demonstrates that patient A, which was not cured, developed drug-resistant viruses, which were then transmitted to his partner B.

this case history strongly underlines that “successful treatment of hepatitis C virus does not preclude re-infection and therefore emphasizes the need for behavioral and prevention interventions in patients at increased risk for re-infection”, as explains the physician and researcher at FLS Cristina Tural, co- coordinator of the study.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 3% of the worldwide population is affected by Hepatitis C infection. The WHO also estimates that 4 million people contract hepatitis C virus each year. This epidemic currently affects a growing proportion of HIV-positive men who have sex with men in Europe. This represents probably one of the main sources of new hepatitis C virus infections in developed countries. For this reason, this is a priority line of research for IrsiCaixa and FLS as part of their comprehensive fight against AIDS.

Abstract and full text online.

Send your comment
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.