Life Expectancy and Prognosis of Hepatitis C
Sustained viral response (SVR) is an important measure to follow in the prognosis of the patient. The SVR is defined as the non-appearance of the particles of the hepatitis C virus in patient’s blood and serum at least for 24 weeks after withdrawing the treatment. The rate of SVR also varies with the type of HCV infection. The SVR is better with genotype 2 and 3 infections while it is comparatively lower for genotype 1. The evidence of the SVR for different genotype is for up to 48 weeks.
Another factor to monitor during the anti-HCV therapy is a rapid virological response (RVR). The RVR is defined as untraceable levels of HCV particles achieved within four weeks of the treatment. The long-term control can decrease the risk of liver cancer by 75 % in these patients.
At present, more than 100 medicines are under development for the management of hepatitis C. These also include vaccines for prevention and treatment of the disease. Many new immunomodulators are being developed to combat the HCV infection. The stem cell therapy to regenerate the damaged liver is also underway to the clinics.
Prevention of Hepatitis C
There are no approved vaccines to prevent the spread of HCV infection. The best approach for prevention is to avoid the exposure to the virus by taking harm reduction strategies.
- Health personnel should be careful when handling blood or needles
- Avoid IV drug use
- Always use condoms when having sex
- Make sure donated blood is properly tested
- Mothers with HCV are to be closely monitored during pregnancy to reduce risk of the baby contracting HCV