Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center have published a study that found a new drug cured 90 percent of patients suffering from hepatitis C in just 12 weeks.
The BBC reports that the study focused on 380 patients from 78 health centers throughout the world. The participants took the drug orally, although some took it for 12 weeks while another group took it for 24.
Of the shorter test, 191 of 208 patients no longer had hepatitis C by its conclusion. The results on the longer test were even better: 165 of 172 patients were cured, or 96 percent. Experts told the BBC that the test was “a major breakthrough” and “a turning point” in treating the virus, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says affects 3.2 million Americans.
All participants in the study suffered from liver cirrhosis, which indicates an advanced form of the virus. Hepatitis C is passed on through the blood of an infected person, usually through tattoo needles or intravenous drug use. Current treatment includes a year’s worth of injections and has side effects of depression, fatigue, and feeling sick.
The research was the phase 3 trial for the drug, which, as Tech Times notes, is often the last hurdle before receiving FDA approval. The so-called ABT-450 treatment will compete with the drug Sovaldi, which costs Americans $1,000 a day during its 12 week regimen.