Response to therapy is associated with clinical benefits, including reduction in hepatic inflammation and, in many cases, reduction in hepatic fibrosis and regression of septal fibrosis. New insights into the virology of HCV will likely lead to more innovative models for the discovery and evaluation of anti-HCV drugs. Second-generation recombinant interferons and albumin-stabilized interferon-a are being evaluated along with novel ribavirin-related compounds (Levovirin, L-isomer of ribavirin, and Viramidine, a ribavirin prodrug). In addition, novel immunomodulators (Thymosin a-1), immune-based therapies (HCV immunoglobulin G), therapeutic HCV vaccines (HCVglycoprotein E1 construct) and targeted HCV inhibitors (NS3 protease inhibitors, helicase inhibitors) are all contributing to make the next decade possibly the most exciting in the development of more effective treatments for chronic HCV infection.
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