Greg Jefferys Hepatitis C blog deals with all the issues associated with hepatitis C
Since mid 2015 when I first began working helping people to access affordable Hepatitis C treatment with generic Hep C drugs from India it became clear that Hep C genotype 3 was the most difficult of the 6 common genotypes of Hepatitis C to cure. I learned that not only is Genotype 3 the most difficult variety of Hep C to cure but it also causes the most damage to the liver.
One of the first people I helped with treating Hep C G3 was an English guy living on the Spanish Island of Majorca. He caught Hep C from surgery after a motorcycle accident in India, so he found it ironic that both his disease and the medication for its cure came from India.
In those days the optimum treatment for Hepatitis Genotype 3 was 24 weeks of Sofosbuvir + Ribavirin. This was before generic Daclatasvir became available in India.
A few months prior to when he contacted me he had been ripped off by a couple of Russians who promised to supply him with the Sofosbuvir + Ribavirin for 10,000 Euros. He handed over the money and never saw those two men, or the money, again.
So he was a little reluctant to send money to me, a person he had never met, living thousands of miles away. But we did manage to work that out and I sent him his genotype 3 treatment from India.
It was great news to hear from him after 24 weeks that he was cured. The 24 weeks of Ribavirin included in his treatment made the treatment very difficult because Ribavirin can cause unpleasant side effects, but at the end he was cured and he was happy.
Not long after this happened generic Daclatasvir became available from India and the Sofosbuvir 400 mg + Daclatasvir 60 mg combination was hailed as the new wonder cure for Hepatitis C genotype 3, without the side effects of Ribavirin. Then India released generic Epclusa (Sofosbuvir 400 mg + Velpatasvir 100 mg), but I will come back to Epclusa latter.
The Global distribution of Hepatitis C genotype 3 is interesting. In most western countries such as the USA and Europe Hep C Genotype 3 makes up about 25% of all Hep C infections but in South East Asia G3 is the predominant genotype of Hepatitis C and causes huge problems amongst a population that can ill afford the cost of treatment, even generic treatment.
However in 2015, in countries that could afford the Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir treatment, doctors began recommending 12 weeks of Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir to treat genotype 3.
Of course, the problem was that in Western countries a 12 weeks of Sofosbuvir cost US$84,000 and 12 weeks of Daclatasvir cost US$54,000, making a 12 week treatment with Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir cost around US$140,000: so the treatment was out of reach for all but the wealthiest patients. Even wealthy countries could not afford to have the price on the national health services.
Fortunately, generic Daclatasvir soon became available from India and treatments began both with generic Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir (brand names: Sovaldi + Daklinza).
However, as more people were treated with Sof + Dac it soon became clear that something was wrong. The Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir combination was giving good results but lower than expected with only about 94% of people being cured.
In other words about 1 in 14 people with Hep C genotype 3 doing 12 weeks treatment with Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir was relapsing after the completion of treatment.
There was a lot of talk about this and it was not long before doctors began to prescribe 20 weeks treatment with Sof + Dac for G3.
This certainly lifted the cure rates and it was found that 20 weeks treatment with Sof + Dac was giving a cure rate of better than 99% for G3.
Then along came Epclusa, which is Sofosbuvir 400 mg + Velpatasvir 100 mg.
Early trial results indicated that Epclusa was more effective against Hepatitis C G3 than Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir or Sofosbuvir + Ribavirin but only very slightly, just 1% or 2%, which some statisticians would say was statistically insignificant.
The claim was that 12 weeks treatment of Epclusa was an effective treatment for Hep C genotype 3.
However I had heard this before and noticed that trials and “real world” treatments often give very different results.
In the real world, 12 weeks treatment with Epclusa gave about a 95% cure if the patient had not failed previous treatment.
But Epclusa was a great treatment option for G3 so when generic Epclusa became available I added it to the treatment options available for people with G3 and waited to hear the results.
And now nearly 4 years after the release of generic Epclusa, the results are in… Good news!
It would appear from a thorough study of all Genotype 3 treatment trial results that 12 weeks treatment with Epclusa will give about a 94% cure rate and 12 weeks with Sof + Daclatasvir will give about a 93% cure. Importantly longer treatment times will give significantly higher cure rates.
Mavyret was a late-comer for the treatment of Hepatitis C manufactured by the global pharmaceutical giant AbbVee.
Mavyret aimed to take a share of GILEAD’s dominance of the Hep C treatment market by coming in at a price point of about half of the price of GILEAD’s Hep C drugs. Because of its low price point Mavyret quickly grabbed a huge share of the market, particularly in the USA. However, Mavyret is less effective across all genotype of Hep C when compared to the Sofosbuvir based Hep C treatments.
Mavyret gives cures of 95% or less for genotype 3 compared to GILEAD’s Sofosbuvir based treatment. In the ENDURANCE TRIALS, run by Mavyret’s maker, AbbVee, Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir was shown to be more effective than Mavyret against genotype 3.
Mavyret is a pan-genotype Hep C treatment. That is to say, Mavyret cures all genotypes of Hepatitis C but at a slightly lower rate than the Sofosbuvir based Hep C treatments.
This link will take you to the journal article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30266283
The best treatment options for HCV genotype 3 patients are Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir or Sofosbuvir + Velpatasvir.
It seems from trial results that amongst patients without cirrhosis who underwent 12 weeks of treatment, more achieved SVR when they received Epclusa. . However those who used Sofosbuvir plus Daclatasvir also achieved very high cures. The results vary a little between different trials however it seems that cure rates for Epclusa and Sof + Daclatasvir are so close that there is little between them.
Among patients with cirrhosis, more achieved SVR when they received Sofosbuvir + Velpatasvir for 24 weeks compared with those treated with Sofosbuvir + Velpatasvir for 12 weeks.
From these results it is clear that longer treatment times with either Sofosbuvir + Velpatasvir or Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir achieves the highest cure rate in Hepatitis C genotype 3.
The length of treatment time is very important. Because Genotype 3 is the hardest to treat and even harder to re-treat after a relapse it is important that the first treatment clears the virus completely.
We know that treatment with Sofosbuvir + Velpatasvir (Epclusa) success rates look something like this:
94% @ 12 weeks,
97% @ 16 weeks,
99% at 20 weeks
and above 99% at 24 weeks
For governments and insurance companies, they usually will say, because of the high costs, ” 94% cure rate is good enough” even when longer treatment provides better results.
As you will see from the email below, it is another example of why a person with Hep C Genotype 3 should do more than 12 weeks. I receive emails like this quite regularly.
I hope you are doing great. Just went through your blog and found very helpful.
I am 37 year old male Asian ethnic. HCV GT 3 discovered couple of years back without Cirrhosis.
First treatment was Sofo+Decla for 12 weeks. No viral load detected during treatment. 6 months later same load of 8 millions was back. Second treatment was with Epclusa+Riba for 12 weeks. Viral load undetected during treatment and relapsed after 3 months of treatment end. Current viral load is 1.6 millions.
Though liver still not too bad, I am weighing retreatment options. Can you please share your opinion on below?
Do I need NS5A resistance test?
Since Vosevi is still not in access in my area, would you go for Epclusa+Riba again for 24 weeks this time?
Any other recommendation?
Thanks and Best Regards,
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