Transmission of hepatitis C virus following antiviral treatment

Millions of people throughout the world are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Left untreated, infection results in serious complications such as cirrhosis of the liver and cancer. Many HCV-infected patients respond well to anti-viral therapy and remain virus free. However, trace amounts of HCV RNA are sporadically detected in patients thought to have successfully responded to HCV treatment.

A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation tested if this reappearing HCV RNA is infectious. Using an animal model, Barbara Rehermann and colleagues at the NIH found that blood from patients with trace amounts of HCV RNA is able to cause HCV infection, though the animals did not immediately show signs of HCV infection.

This study demonstrates that small amounts of HCV RNA in successfully treated patients can be infectious, but these transmission events may be hard to detect due to delayed onset of disease.

More information: Trace amounts of sporadically reappearing HCV RNA can cause infection, J Clin Invest. DOI: 10.1172/JCI73104

Related Stories

Predicting the outcome of hepatitis C virus treatment

date Jul 01, 2014

Millions of people throughout the world are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and cancer. Directly acting antiviral agents inhibit viral proteins and have been used to successfully ...

Study quantifies prevalence of chronic HCV infection

date Mar 04, 2014

(HealthDay)—The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is about 1 percent, with 2.7 million U.S. residents estimated as having chronic HCV infection, according to a study published in the March ...

Recommended for you

Time to move Lyme Disease Awareness Month to April?

date 5 hours ago

The month of May brings many things, among them Mother's Day, tulips, and Lyme Disease Awareness campaigns. But according to Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem ...

An explanation of wild birds' role in avian flu outbreak

date 7 hours ago

Wild birds are believed to be behind the first major widespread outbreak of bird flu in the United States. The H5N2 virus has cost Midwestern turkey and chicken producers almost 13 million birds since early March, including ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.