One of the most important things to know when you are deciding how to treat your Hepatitis C infection is to know which genotype of Hep C you are infected with.
The reason for this is that certain medications are targeted at certain genotypes of Hepatitis C. For example Harvoni and Zepatier were designed specifically to treat Hep C genotype 1. This means that either Harvoni and Zepatier are very effective for treating G1 but of very little use if you have genotype 2 or genotype 3.
Hep C G2 and G3 might be treated with drugs such as Epclusa or Mavyret but genotype 3 will often require a longer treatment time than genotype 2.
So knowing the genotype of Hepatitis C you have is important. But what is a HCV genotype?
The Short Story
One way to think about Hepatitis C genotypes is to think in terms of races, or breeds, of the Hepatitis C virus. For example if you compare genotypes with breeds of dogs; different breeds of dogs have similar features but also significant differences. For example there is a big difference between a Great Dane and a cocker spaniel, but they are both dogs.
The same with Hep C genotypes, they are all the Hepatitis C viurus but that have differences and those differences mean that different genotypes will affect us slightly differently and also respond differently to treatment.
There are 11 different Hep C genotypes, but in most countries the first three genotypes represent the bulk of infections. These are genotypes G1, G2 and G3. These three genotypes account for about 95% of all Hepatitis C infections.
Of these three HCV genotypes it is genotype 3 that is the most difficult to cure. Genotype 3 also does the most damage to the liver.
About 10% of people infected with Hepatitis C are infected with more than one genotype of Hep C.
If you are interested in more detailed information on Hepatitis C genotypes please click this link for The Long Story