I've written before about how the advent of new therapies for hepatitis C, with their promise of increased cure rates and compliance, could change the face of hepatitis C. Now, some of my colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (led by Mina Kabiri) have shown just that with mathematical modeling in an important paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
As this viral infection, which exists in the over 3 million individuals, progresses and viral damage accrues, cirrhosis and need for transplantation will ensue. Hepatitis C is currently the leading cause of liver transplantation, liver cancer, and end stage liver disease. Anything that can diminish the disease burden of hepatitis C would be a huge boon.
Kabiri and coauthors constructed a mathematical model that simulated the US hepatitis C population from the years of 2001 through 2050. Varied treatments were placed into the model based on what the standard of care treatment was in a given year, culminating with our modern regimens.
The major finding of this study is that, using current treatment regimens coupled to universal screening, hepatitis C could become rare by 2036!
This study really provides a substantial quantitative basis to justify the excitement over newer hepatitis C regimens--regimens I believe are truly priceless, pathbreaking, and have the ability to alter the landscape of disease.