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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 24, Issue 10, Pages 597-602
Original Article

Efficacy and Safety of a Novel Pegylated Interferon Alpha-2a in Egyptian Patients with Genotype 4 Chronic Hepatitis C

Alaa Awad Taha,1 Ahmad El-Ray,1 Maged El-Ghannam,1 and Bahaa Mounir2

1Department of Hepatogastroenterology, Theodor Bilharz Research Institute, Egypt
2Pathology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

Received 3 April 2010; Accepted 26 May 2010

Copyright © 2010 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.


BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 4 is a common infection in Egypt and is the leading cause of liver disease.

OBJECTIVE: To study the efficacy and safety of a novel 20 kD pegylated interferon alpha-2a derived from Hansenula polymorpha in combination with ribavirin for the treatment of Egyptian patients with genotype 4 chronic hepatitis C (CHC).

METHODS: One hundred seven patients with genotype 4 CHC were involved in the present study. Liver biopsy was performed in all patients. All patients received a fixed weekly dose of 160 μg of a novel pegylated interferon in combination with ribavirin in standard and adjusted doses. Serum HCV RNA levels were assessed by a real-time sensitive polymerase chain reaction assay at four, 12, 48 and 72 weeks after the start of therapy. Patients demonstrating an early virological response (EVR) completed a 48-week course of treatment.

RESULTS: The overall sustained virological response (SVR) was 60.7%. The SVR in patients with a rapid virological response was significantly higher (91.7%) than in patients with complete EVR (67.74%) (P=0.033) and partial EVR (56.14%) (P=0.003). SVR was also significantly higher in patients with a low degree of liver fibrosis according to Metavir score (F1 and F2) (67.57%) compared with those with a high degree of liver fibrosis (F3 and F4) (45.45%) (P=0.017). The baseline viral load had no impact on SVR in the present series nor were any serious adverse events reported.

CONCLUSION: The novel pegylated interferon alpha-2a assessed in the present study was effective for the treatment of patients with genotype 4 CHC, and was safe and well tolerated.