Based on its genetic (RNA) makeup, the hepatitis C virus has different types/variations/strains. These types are referred to as genotypes.
There are six common hep C genotypes, with several different subtypes, identified throughout the world. The most common hep C genotype in Canada is known as the hepatitis C virus genotype 1 (HCV GT1 or just GT1).
A person can become infected with more than one of these genotypes, so prevention (following the basic rules for staying healthy) and harm reduction are always important. Knowing one’s hep C genotype is also important as it affects the type of treatment prescribed, the treatment’s duration, and the treatment’s success.
Hepatitis C Genotypes and Hep C Treatment
The type of hep C infection one has doesn’t determine how bad their hep C symptoms may be. For example, having genotype 1 hep C doesn’t mean that a person will experience less hep C symptoms than someone with genotype 2 hep C. However, hep C genotypes do effect a treatment’s possible success and its side effects. Therefore, each hep C genotype has its own treatments and set of treatment lengths that work best against it.
Pan-Genotypic Hepatitis C Treatments
However, there are now pan-genotypic hep C treatments in the Canadian approval process that are able to treat all virus genotypes. These new treatments are important as they have the power to make hep C treatment much easier than it is now. As Dr. Jordan Feld, a liver specialist at Toronto Western Hospital, explained, a treatment that can be used for every virus type “…eliminates the need for [virus type/genotype] testing, which often delayed treatment and can be difficult to access for those living in rural or remote regions of the country….” (Ubelacker, The Canadian Press)
Possible Pan-Genotypic Hepatitis C Treatments in Development or the Approval Process
|Epclusa (sofosbuvir / velpatasvir)|
|Glecaprevir / Pibrentasvir|
|Sofosbuvir / Velpatasvir + Voxilaprevir|
|AL-335 + Odalasvir (ACHN-3102) + Simeprevir|
|*An additional name for the drug glecaprevir is ABT-493. An additional name for pibrentasvir is ABT-530. An additional name for voxilaprevir is GS-9857. Epclusa is the only one so far to be approved for use in Canada.|
Interesting Online Articles and Resources
- Next Generation Treatments by the Hepatitis C Treatment Information Project
- The Five: Pan-Genotypic Drugs by Alan Franciscus from pages 8-9 of the HCV Advocate, Mid-Month Edition, November 2015
- hepCinfoUpdate 7.12 by CATIE
- Pangenotypic Regimen: A Step Forward in HCV Treatment by Healio