Today the FDA approved what I pray is the cure for my illness 15-0 with nary a naysayer among them. Hepatitis C sufferers who failed the Interferon prophylaxis over the years now have one good shot at killing the dragon.
We’ve waited a long time-some as many as 16 years-for this day. How soon Gilead cranks up the pill machine is the only delay I see. Scientists actually created the first Interferon product in 1957 but didn’t understand how to employ it. They killed a lot of people before they diluted the dose down further and further. After the introduction of Ribavirin in pill form, the two-drug cocktail jumped from 39% success in fifty two weeks to almost 54%. With the latest addition of Telepravir/Bocepravir triple-drug regimen the cure rate has risen to 62% with an average of forty weeks.
In contrast, Sofosbuvir plus Ribavirin in oral form (pills) have a twelve week course for the most intractable genotypes (1A and 1B) with a reputed 97% rate and no relapses. Guess that tells you all you need to know. It won’t kill you and it works.
Genotypes 2 and 3, normally the ones most amenable to treatment with Interferon, are quite the opposite using the nucleotide protease inhibitors. We hope follow-on research will yield better results which are currently in the 69-72% range. Hell, that’s still better than the bug juice.
P.S. The Stock market closed too early to reflect the 3 PM FDA conference review board’s decision. However the stock did rise from 68.68 at 2:30 PM to $69.68 at the closing bell. This one will be interesting to watch. They are pretty much not only the frontrunners in this new race but indeed the only runners with an approved product.