Experimental hepatitis C drug shows promise

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Washington, Dec 4 (ANI): An experimental drug for hepatitis B has been found extremely effective in the trials conducted over chimpanzees, say researchers.

The medication, dubbed SPC3649, has been found to inhibit the virus in chimpanzees and researchers hope it would help treat chronic infections in humans also.

It uses a proprietary nucleic acid called "locked nucleic acid" developed by Danish pharmaceutical company Santaris Pharma.

The nucleic acid captures the microRNA122 molecule that hepatitis C virus (HCV) uses to replicate.

"Our collaboration with proved that the drug worked exceptionally well in treating HCV infections in chimpanzees," ABC Science quoted Dr Robert Lanford, the lead author of the research as saying.

The researchers said SPC3649 could in the future be used to replace interferon in some treatments, and combined with interferon and ribavirin in a cocktail in other instances.

"This antiviral could be used alone to treat disease progression and there are indications that it can convert interferon non-responders to responders, so that non-responders to the current therapy could be treated with the combination of this drug with interferon," said Lanford.

The treatment is undergoing "human clinical trials and is currently undergoing Phase 1 clinical studies in healthy volunteers." (ANI)

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