Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a chronic hepatitis caused by hepatitis C virus. It can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. According to Hong Kong Department of Health, prior blood or product transfusion, hemodialysis and intravenous drug abuse are the risk factors for chronic hepatitis C infection. Many patients infected with hepatitis C virus are asymptomatic in early phase of the disease. When they have symptoms, they are usually in the late stage of disease such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Peg-interferon and ribavirin were the standard treatment in the past decade. But treatment side effects were significant and some patients have no response to treatment. In recent two years, oral direct acting antiviral (DAA) therapy is the new standard treatment for chronic hepatitis C. Injection is no longer required. These new drugs target the viral NS3/4A protease or NS5A or NS5B protein. These new therapies achieve high cure rates (generally > 90%), lower the chance of side effects and shorten the duration of treatment. Cost of treatment is extremely high.