Impressive cure rates for the combination of Gilead Sciences and Bristol-Myers Squibb's hepatitis C antivirals have emerged as the happy surprise of the EASL meeting. In a phase II study the interferon-free cocktail of GS-7977 and daclatasvir with ribavirin dosed for 24 weeks cured 100% of patients with the most prevalent type of the virus, genotype 1, and had near total cure rates without ribavirin.
Even a year ago, the promise of eliminating interferon, and its flu-like side effects, was thought to be many years away (EASL - Beyond protease inhibitors hep C pipeline filling up, April 4, 2011). However, specialists have significantly pushed up the timetable for elimination of the cytokine from the backbone of therapy: “The turnaround time for phase II and phase III studies has now accelerated enormously,” said Mark Thursz, secretary-general of EASL and a hepatology professor at Imperial College. “I can imagine the first interferon-free regimen being available within two years.”