Hepatitis C is a growing menace in our country. Early detection of the disease and timely intervention in terms of treatment is still the burning issue. Standard of care for treatment of chronic hepatitis C is weekly injection of Peg –interferon and Ribavirin.Its efficacy is 80% in our population. Unfortunately we are facing new challenges as a result of this treatment. There is 15-20% relapse rate (recurrence of diseases) even after 6 months of treatment with Pegylated Interferon.
There is a new ray of hope with newly launched Consensus Interferon (INFERGEN) .This interferon is used in Europe and United States for the last 2-3 years for chronic Hepatitis C patients who relapse or do not respond with Peg-Interferon. We did conduct the first ever clinical study here in Pakistan to evaluate the efficacy of Consensus Interferon (Infergen) in 40 patients .These patients were treated with Peg interferon before for 6 months. After one year stopping the treatment, the HCVPCR (test to detect live virus) was positive in 15% of these patients .These patients were given 15 ucg of injection Ifergen thrice weekly for 6 months and 80% of patients were HCVPCR negative, free of disease.
This is a very encouraging news for the patients who are struggling with chronic hepatitis C even after treatment with Pegylated Interferon .This study will be presented in Annual conference of APASL (Asia pacific association for study of liver diseases) being held in Beijing China in 4th week of March 2010. This study was conducted at Maroof International Hospital and Islamabad Specialists clinic Islamabad, Pakistan. Dr Gill appreciated the hard work of Dr Uzma Adeeb, Dr Fatima khattak, the research fellow who was actively involved in this research project. There are three other research papers by our group which will be presented in this conference