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Concept: Ribavirin

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Background Patients chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 2 or 3 for whom treatment with peginterferon is not an option, or who have not had a response to prior interferon treatment, currently have no approved treatment options. In phase 2 trials, regimens including the oral nucleotide polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir have shown efficacy in patients with HCV genotype 2 or 3 infection. Methods We conducted two randomized, phase 3 studies involving patients with chronic HCV genotype 2 or 3 infection. In one trial, patients for whom treatment with peginterferon was not an option received oral sofosbuvir and ribavirin (207 patients) or matching placebo (71) for 12 weeks. In a second trial, patients who had not had a response to prior interferon therapy received sofosbuvir and ribavirin for 12 weeks (103 patients) or 16 weeks (98). The primary end point was a sustained virologic response at 12 weeks after therapy. Results Among patients for whom treatment with peginterferon was not an option, the rate of a sustained virologic response was 78% (95% confidence interval [CI], 72 to 83) with sofosbuvir and ribavirin, as compared with 0% with placebo (P<0.001). Among previously treated patients, the rate of response was 50% with 12 weeks of treatment, as compared with 73% with 16 weeks of treatment (difference, -23 percentage points; 95% CI, -35 to -11; P<0.001). In both studies, response rates were lower among patients with genotype 3 infection than among those with genotype 2 infection and, among patients with genotype 3 infection, lower among those with cirrhosis than among those without cirrhosis. The most common adverse events were headache, fatigue, nausea, and insomnia; the overall rate of discontinuation of sofosbuvir was low (1 to 2%). Conclusions In patients with HCV genotype 2 or 3 infection for whom treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin was not an option, 12 or 16 weeks of treatment with sofosbuvir and ribavirin was effective. Efficacy was increased among patients with HCV genotype 2 infection and those without cirrhosis. In previously treated patients with genotype 3 infection, 16 weeks of therapy was significantly more effective than 12 weeks. (Funded by Gilead Sciences; POSITRON and FUSION ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT01542788 and NCT01604850 , respectively.).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Virus, Hepatitis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Interferon, Hepatitis C, Ribavirin, Hepatitis B

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Background In phase 2 trials, the nucleotide polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir was effective in previously untreated patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1, 2, or 3 infection. Methods We conducted two phase 3 studies in previously untreated patients with HCV infection. In a single-group, open-label study, we administered a 12-week regimen of sofosbuvir plus peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin in 327 patients with HCV genotype 1, 4, 5, or 6 (of whom 98% had genotype 1 or 4). In a noninferiority trial, 499 patients with HCV genotype 2 or 3 infection were randomly assigned to receive sofosbuvir plus ribavirin for 12 weeks or peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin for 24 weeks. In the two studies, the primary end point was a sustained virologic response at 12 weeks after the end of therapy. Results In the single-group study, a sustained virologic response was reported in 90% of patients (95% confidence interval, 87 to 93). In the noninferiority trial, a sustained response was reported in 67% of patients in both the sofosbuvir-ribavirin group and the peginterferon-ribavirin group. Response rates in the sofosbuvir-ribavirin group were lower among patients with genotype 3 infection than among those with genotype 2 infection (56% vs. 97%). Adverse events (including fatigue, headache, nausea, and neutropenia) were less common with sofosbuvir than with peginterferon. Conclusions In a single-group study of sofosbuvir combined with peginterferon-ribavirin, patients with predominantly genotype 1 or 4 HCV infection had a rate of sustained virologic response of 90% at 12 weeks. In a noninferiority trial, patients with genotype 2 or 3 infection who received either sofosbuvir or peginterferon with ribavirin had nearly identical rates of response (67%). Adverse events were less frequent with sofosbuvir than with peginterferon. (Funded by Gilead Sciences; FISSION and NEUTRINO ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT01497366 and NCT01641640 , respectively.).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Virus, Hepatitis, Interferon, Hepatitis C, Ribavirin, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C virus

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Background The standard treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is interferon, which is administered subcutaneously and can have troublesome side effects. We evaluated sofosbuvir, an oral nucleotide inhibitor of HCV polymerase, in interferon-sparing and interferon-free regimens for the treatment of HCV infection. Methods We provided open-label treatment to eight groups of patients. A total of 40 previously untreated patients with HCV genotype 2 or 3 infection were randomly assigned to four groups; all four groups received sofosbuvir (at a dose of 400 mg once daily) plus ribavirin for 12 weeks. Three of these groups also received peginterferon alfa-2a for 4, 8, or 12 weeks. Two additional groups of previously untreated patients with HCV genotype 2 or 3 infection received sofosbuvir monotherapy for 12 weeks or sofosbuvir plus peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin for 8 weeks. Two groups of patients with HCV genotype 1 infection received sofosbuvir and ribavirin for 12 weeks: 10 patients with no response to prior treatment and 25 with no previous treatment. We report the rate of sustained virologic response 24 weeks after therapy. Results Of the 40 patients who underwent randomization, all 10 (100%) who received sofosbuvir plus ribavirin without interferon and all 30 (100%) who received sofosbuvir plus ribavirin for 12 weeks and interferon for 4, 8, or 12 weeks had a sustained virologic response at 24 weeks. For the other patients with HCV genotype 2 or 3 infection, all 10 (100%) who received sofosbuvir plus peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin for 8 weeks had a sustained virologic response at 24 weeks, as did 6 of 10 (60%) who received sofosbuvir monotherapy. Among patients with HCV genotype 1 infection, 21 of 25 previously untreated patients (84%) and 1 of 10 with no response to previous therapy (10%) had a sustained virologic response at 24 weeks. The most common adverse events were headache, fatigue, insomnia, nausea, rash, and anemia. Conclusions Sofosbuvir plus ribavirin for 12 weeks may be effective in previously untreated patients with HCV genotype 1, 2, or 3 infection. (Funded by Pharmasset and Gilead Sciences; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01260350 .).

Concepts: DNA, Virus, Interferon, Hepatitis C, Ribavirin, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C virus, Peginterferon alfa-2a

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Zika virus infection closely resembles dengue fever. It is possible that many cases are misdiagnosed or missed. We report a case of Zika virus infection in an Australian traveler who returned from Indonesia with fever and rash. Further case identification is required to determine the evolving epidemiology of this disease.

Concepts: Disease, Infectious disease, Virus, Malaria, Infection, Ribavirin, Fever, Dengue fever

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OBJECTIVE: Ribavirin improves treatment response to pegylated-interferon (PEG-IFN) in chronic hepatitis C but the mechanism remains controversial. We studied correlates of response and mechanism of action of ribavirin in treatment of hepatitis C. DESIGN: 70 treatment-naive patients were randomised to 4 weeks of ribavirin (1000-1200 mg/d) or none, followed by PEG-IFNα-2a and ribavirin at standard doses and durations. Patients were also randomised to a liver biopsy 24 h before or 6 h after starting PEG-IFN. Hepatic gene expression was assessed by microarray and interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression quantified by nCounter platform. Temporal changes in ISG expression were assessed by qPCR in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and by serum levels of IP-10. RESULTS: After 4 weeks of ribavirin monotherapy, hepatitis C virus (HCV) levels decreased by 0.5±0.5 log(10) (p=0.009 vs controls) and ALT by 33% (p<0.001). Ribavirin pretreatment, while modestly augmenting ISG induction by PEG-IFN, did not modify the virological response to subsequent PEG-IFN and ribavirin treatment. However, biochemical, but not virological, response to ribavirin monotherapy predicted response to subsequent combination treatment (rapid virological response, 71% in biochemical responders vs 22% non-responders, p=0.01; early virological response, 100% vs 68%, p=0.03; sustained virological response 83% vs 41%, p=0.053). Ribavirin monotherapy lowered serum IP-10 levels but had no effect on ISG expression in PBMC. CONCLUSIONS: Ribavirin is a weak antiviral but its clinical effect seems to be mediated by a separate, indirect mechanism, which may act to reset IFN-responsiveness in HCV-infected liver.

Concepts: DNA, Molecular biology, Cirrhosis, Liver, Alanine transaminase, Hepatitis C, Ribavirin, Hepatitis A

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Rural and remote patients at the Royal Perth Hospital were reviewed and treated for hepatitis C by a hepatologist and nurse practitioner using telehealth (videoconferencing). Over a four-year period, 50 patients were treated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, and participated in a total of more than 500 telehealth sessions. Sustained virological response rates (SVRs) were compared to those in face-to-face (FTF) clinics to assess treatment outcomes. Treatment through telehealth was found to be non-inferior to FTF clinics. Telehealth patients with genotype 1 infection achieved a higher rate of SVR than those attending FTF clinics (73% versus 54%, respectively), although the difference was not significant. SVR rates for genotype 2 and 3 of 72% were similar in telehealth to FTF rates of 74%. A total of 35 telehealth patients completed a satisfaction questionnaire and most indicated that they were happy with the programme and would participate again in the future. The study confirmed that telehealth is an effective option for the treatment of hepatitis C in rural and remote areas.

Concepts: Hospital, Cirrhosis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Interferon, Rates, Hepatitis C, Ribavirin, Hepatitis B

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The aim of the present study was to evaluate the ability of the iminosugar drug UV-4 to provide in vivo protection from lethal dengue virus (DENV) challenge. This study utilized a well-described model of dengue hemorrhagic fever / dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS)-like lethal disease in AG129 mice lacking the type I and II interferon receptors. Herein, we present UV-4 as a potent iminosugar for controlling DENV infection and disease in this mouse model. Specifically, administration of UV-4 reduced mortality, as well as viremia and viral RNA in key tissues, and cytokine storm. In addition, UV-4 treatment can be delayed, and it does not alter the anti-DENV antibody response. These results have set the foundation for development of UV-4 as a DENV-specific antiviral in phase I human clinical trials.

Concepts: Immune system, Cytokine, Virus, Interferon, Ribavirin, Fever, Dengue fever, Viral hemorrhagic fever

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Dengue fever is re-emerging as a major scourge in south-east Asian countries affecting about 50-100 million people and causing about 25,000 mortality annually. India as a whole is under the risk of infection of this disease. We genetically characterized viruses causing Dengue infections in Kerala, one of the worst affected states of the Country during the disease outbreaks 2008-2010. All the 4 serotypes of the virus: DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 & DENV-4 were found to be prevalent in the state. The genotypes recognized for these were III, IV, III and I respectively. The phylogenetic analysis evidenced that the re-emergence of serotype DENV-4 reported in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh recently, is spreading to different regions of the Country. The circulation of all the 4 Dengue serotypes in Kerala, may lead to increase in the prevalence of more severe complications of this emerging disease, such as Dengue Hemorrhagic fever and Dengue shock syndromes.

Concepts: Disease, Virus, Infection, Ribavirin, Fever, Dengue fever, Dengue, States and territories of India

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Abstract CASE HISTORY: One 4.5-month-old male Border Collie cross presented with aggression and seizures in October 2006. A 16-month-old, female, spayed Border Collie cross presented with hypersalivation and a dropped jaw and rapidly became stuporous in September 2007. The dogs were littermates and developed acute neurological signs 5 and 27 days, respectively, after vaccination with different modified live vaccines containing canine distemper virus.

Concepts: Male, Vaccine, Vaccination, Ribavirin, Viruses, Canine distemper, Dog breed, Border Collie

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In a Japanese Phase II study, the hepatitis C virus NS3/4A protease inhibitor simeprevir demonstrated potent antiviral activity and significantly improved sustained virologic response rates when added to peginterferon α-2a/ribavirin in treatment-naïve patients infected with hepatitis C virus genotype 1.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Virus, Antiviral drug, Interferon, Hepatitis C, Ribavirin, Hepatitis B, Protease