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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 13, Issue 1, Pages 57-62

Future Directions in the Treatment of Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Robert G Gish

Departments of Medicine and Transplantation, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, USA

Received 7 July 1998; Accepted 21 September 1998

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects over 170 million people worldwide. While interferon is currently the most used single agent therapy, this drug may result in a sustained loss of virus from the blood in only up to 15% of patients; new options for treatment are needed. With the release of ribavirin in North America and Europe, a viral clearance rate or ‘cure’ may be attained in up to 40% of patients. Developing successful antiviral therapy that prevents or delays the development of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer as well as decreasing the demand for liver transplantation are clearly identified goals. Unfortunately, there is no complete in vitro model of HCV replication or translation. Due to the lack of an animal or cell culture model of HCV infection, in vitro translation screening systems to identify inhibitors of HCV protein translation are being evaluated by a large number of biotechnology companies. With advancing computer technology, high throughput screening processes are now possible and can be joined to specific in vitro model testing systems. Along with examining some of the information known about HCV therapy and the HCV genome, the present review discusses potential targets for new therapies and identifies therapeutic agents that are nearing clinical application