Researchers at St. Louis University will begin study enrollment to test the safety and efficacy of sofosbuvir with ribavirin to treat hepatitis C virus infection in children, according to a news release.
In a multicenter clinical study, researcher Jeffrey Teckman, MD, professor of pediatrics at SLU, will analyze the combination of sofosbuvir (Sovaldi, Gilead Sciences) and ribavirin among children aged 3 to 17 years in an effort to cure the infection while limiting side effects.
Sofosbuvir and ribavirin already is being used to treat HCV infection in adults and has shown cure rates of 90% to 100%, according to the release.
“A lot of times studies for children don’t get approved,” Teckman said in the release. “The exciting part with our study is that the medication has already been tested in adults, and we are moving rapidly to test in children.”
Before the all-oral combination of sofosbuvir/ribavirin, HCV treatment among adults included interferon injections and ribavirin. The therapy usually lasts for 6 to 12 months, according to the release, and side effects include flu-like symptoms and depression.
“Many times patients would be on the traditional medication but quit within a year,” Teckman said. “It’s a very difficult treatment, with a cure rate of 50%. The new study will consist of all-oral medication — that would mean no shots or flu-like side effects, and also a much shorter course of treatment.
“I think this treatment is a real game-changer. The previous treatments were arduous. People would often start the treatment, but eventually drop out. This new therapy is a revolution that affects people around the world.”