Copyright ©The Author(s) 2017. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Hepatol. Jul 28, 2017; 9(21): 921-929
Published online Jul 28, 2017. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v9.i21.921
Is the 25-year hepatitis C marathon coming to an end to declare victory?
Khulood T Ahmed, Ashraf A Almashhrawi, Jamal A Ibdah, Veysel Tahan
Khulood T Ahmed, Ashraf A Almashhrawi, Jamal A Ibdah, Veysel Tahan, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65212, United States
Author contributions: All authors contributed to the acquisition of data, writing, and revision of this manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors have no conflicts of interests to declare.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Veysel Tahan, MD, Associate Professor, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Missouri, 1 Hospital Dr, Columbia, MO 65212, United States.
Telephone: +1-573-8846044 Fax: +1-573-8844595
Received: April 8, 2017
Peer-review started: April 12, 2017
First decision: May 22, 2017
Revised: June 4, 2017
Accepted: July 7, 2017
Article in press: July 10, 2017
Published online: July 28, 2017

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) which was originally recognized as posttransfusion non-A, non-B hepatitis has been a major global health problem affecting 3% of the world population. Interferon/peginterferon and ribavirin combination therapy was the backbone of chronic HCV therapy for two decades of the journey. However, the interferon based treatment success rate was around 50% with many side effects. Many chronic HCV patients with psychiatric diseases, or even cytopenias, were ineligible for HCV treatment. Now, we no longer need any injectable medicine. New direct-acting antiviral agents against HCV allowed the advance of interferon-free and ribavirin-free oral regimens with high rates of response and tolerability. The cost of the medications should not be a barrier to their access in certain parts of the world. While we are getting closer, we should still focus on preventing the spread of the disease, screening and delivering the cure globally to those in need. In the near future, development of an effective vaccine against HCV would make it possible to eradicate HCV infection worldwide completely.

Keywords: Treatment, Therapy, Epidemiology, History, Prevention

Core tip: Spreading awareness about the need for screening and treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) will help identifying more cases to provide appropriate treatment. As more direct-acting agents are coming out of the pipeline, healthcare managers will face the major task of making those medicines available to HCV-infected patients. One of the efforts, successfully dismantling some of those barriers is the Extended Community Healthcare Outcomes project. Finally, efforts toward developing effective vaccines should be boosted as history tells us that most of success stories in eradicating infectious illness were made possible largely because of vaccines against the offending pathogen.