Greg Jefferys Hepatitis C blog deals with all the issues associated with hepatitis C
Today in my Facebook Hepatitis C Support group the question below was asked.
“If you are undetectable of hep c then how in the world do people relapse?”
The issue of relapsing after Hepatitis C treatment is one that comes up regularly. Fortunately, we now understand Hepatitis C treatment with Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) much better than we did a few years ago and Hep C relapse rates are much lower than they used to be.
When I first started helping people access generic Hep C medicines the relapse rate was about 5%. That is, about 1 in 20 people relapsed after treatment. However, in the past 2 years, I have only had one person relapse after Hep C treatment. That is one out of about 1,000 people treated. Or you can say its a 99.9% cure rate. These are very good results indeed!
However, Hep C relapse is still an issue for people doing Hep C treatment or considering doing it. People have serious concerns about the chance of relapsing after they finish the Hep C treatment.
So here is my reply to the question above and the rest of the conversation thread:
“In answer to your question: Its the limit of the detection technology… The best test can only detect around 15 viral particles in one milliliter of blood (one drop). So if levels are below that number < 15 (under 15 particles in a mil) then it is called “undetectable”
Most people doing treatment with DAAs reach “undetectable” within 7 days of starting treatment.
This does NOT mean there are no live Hep C virus particles in your body, it means that there are less than 15 in one drop of blood.
If you have just one single “live ” Hep C virus particle in your body when you finish your Hep C treatment you will relapse.
This is because even only one live viral particle can replicate very fast. One virus can replicate itself so fast that in 24 hours there are tens of millions of virus particles and in a week or so there will billions.
The Hepatitis C virus can hide out anywhere in your body but the most difficult place to reach them with the Hep C medicine is when they are in the liver scar tissue. This is why people with cirrhosis should do a longer treatment than people without cirrhosis.
This is why we must always do the entire treatment time.”
The person then asks:
“So, Greg, is there any hope of being completely cured?”
“The cure rates for Hep c nowadays are above 98percent. if you reach SVR 12 you are cured
Once you have stopped the treatment if there are any virus remaining in your system they will replicate very fast …1 would become millions in just days
There are no low numbers after the end of the treatment
You either have millions or none
This means that if you UNDETECTED 12 weeks after finishing the treatment then there is no virus in your system
” Greg Jefferys thanks. I was 2.5 million viral load with an F2 liver and had it for 20 years. I have 1 week of treatment of epclusa left. I’ve had a blood test every month and has been undetectable after 1 week of treatment. I have my fingers crossed”
Gilead offers a “One does fits all” with its products of Harvoni and Epclusa however this is not exactly correct. Research shows that people with body weights over 120 kilograms will have a higher chance of failing treatment than people with a lower body weight.
If you are a big person who is treating their Hep C you should discuss with your doctor the possibility of doing a longer treatment time.
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