Hepatitis C Drug Close to Approval

According to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a new drug for treating hepatitis C has passed through the first of its phase III clinical trials. The drug, called Sofosbuvir, is a new antiviral drug that was developed by Gilead Sciences of Foster City, California. Sofosbuvir is one of several drugs that could potentially replace current hepatitis C treatments, which include the immune boosting drug interferon and cause severe side effects such as depression, anemia, and flu like symptoms. About 170 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C, with as many as 4 million of them being in the United States. Prolonged exposure to the virus could cause chronic liver disease and even cancer. Current treatments are able to cure 75% of those who are treated; however it could take up to a year to do so. Many patients are beginning to refuse treatments due to their lengthy nature and severe side effects, however, now doctors are saying that waiting is okay due to the promise of improved drugs. Gilead submitted an application for approval of the drug to the US Food and Drug Administration on April 8th.