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Novel Nucleoside Analog Suppresses Hepatitis C Virus

R1626 has synergistic effect in combination with standard peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin

THURSDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- R1626 -- a novel nucleoside analog -- may significantly reduce hepatitis C virus RNA, either in combination with standard therapy or alone, according to two reports published in the August issue of Hepatology.

In one study, Paul J. Pockros, M.D., of the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., and colleagues randomly assigned 104 treatment-naive patients to receive either one of three doses of R1626 in addition to peginterferon alfa-2a or peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin or the standard of care (peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin.) They found that R1626 had a synergistic effect, with up to 74 percent of patients achieving undetectable hepatitis C virus RNA at week four.

In a second study, Stuart K. Roberts, M.D., of The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues randomly assigned 47 treatment-naive patients to receive either one of four doses of R1626 or placebo for 14 days with 14 days of follow-up, and observed significant dose-dependent and time-dependent reductions in hepatitis C virus RNA.

"The strong synergistic antiviral effect between R1626, peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin suggests that the dose of one or both of these agents could be lowered to improve tolerability without significantly compromising efficacy," Pokros and colleagues conclude. "An additional clinical study is underway to assess and optimize the dose of R1626 in combination with ribavirin and various doses of peginterferon alfa-2a. The promising results observed with R1626 in treatment-naive patients infected with hepatitis C virus genotype 1 with regard to antiviral effect and absence of viral resistance compare favorably with those observed with other molecules in development for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C."

The studies received support from Roche Pharmaceuticals. Researchers involved in both studies reported financial connections with various pharmaceutical companies.

Abstract - Pockros
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Abstract - Roberts
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