2 percent of Americans, which amounts to around 4 million, across the US, suffer from the blood-borne infectious disease chronic hepatitis C, which is four times the number of patients infected with HIV. Very often chronic Hepatitis C does not show any symptoms, and can lead to progressive liver disease. However, there may just be some hope now.
A new use for an old drug has been discovered by scientists at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center. The drug named Fluvastatin has been approved by the FDS since 1993, for the treatment of heightened cholesterol in adults. Reportedly, innumerable patients have taken Fluvastatin, for cholesterol, without any trouble.
Interestingly, researchers have now discovered that Fluvastatin lowered the viral load, or levels of hepatitis C virus to a great extent, for up to six weeks when used alone. Experts came to this conclusion by analyzing 31 veterans at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Oklahoma City who were administered this drug.
Ted Bader, M.D., the lead author of this project and director of liver diseases at the OU Health Sciences Center said, “This research is the first to demonstrate the antiviral activity of Fluvastatin in human beings infected with hepatitis C, most of whom were non-responders to the standard of care treatment.”
However, since Fluvastatin does not completely treat Hepatitis C by itself, experts have begun a phase II randomized, controlled trial that blends Fluvastatin with the standard treatment of peg-interferon and ribavirin. The researchers are keen on using the combination of medicines to develop the cure rate for Hepatitis C to a great extent. On additional testing and approval, the drug could be available as a new treatment for Hepatitis C, much before any other anti-hepatitis C drug currently under research and development.
The latest findings are available online in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.