An estimated 170 million people are chronically infected with HCV. Current therapies are often ineffective and may cause unpleasant side effects.
In this study, Dr Daniel Lamarre and colleagues designed a molecule that stops virus particles being made. The drug, known as BILN 2061, blocks an enzyme that is needed by the virus for replication.
The team organized the first proof-of-principle study with human patients.
They assessed 8 patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) who took 4 doses of the drug over 48 hours.
They found that 2 days later virus levels had dropped by 100- to 1,000-fold.
|Virus levels dropped 100- to 1,000-fold.|
No side effects were reported.
Longer trials are needed to assess how the antiviral activity holds up over time, and whether drug resistance will occur.