Direct-acting antivirals ability to clear intestinal HCV-RNA in liver transplant patients

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The hepatitis C virus mainly infects the liver but is also able to infect and replicate in other body compartments by creating an extra-hepatic reservoir that may influence the persistence of the infection after transplantation. It is unknown whether antiviral drugs affect the viral extra-hepatic sites. We evaluated the ability of pegylated/interferon + ribavirin and sofosbuvir + ribavirin to clear the virus from the gastrointestinal mucosa of liver-transplanted patients with HCV recurrence after transplantation. A total of 51 liver-transplanted patients, 30 treated with pegylated/interferon + ribavirin (ERA1) and 21 treated with sofosbuvir + ribavirin (ERA2), were enrolled, and blood serum and gastrointestinal tissues analyzed for the presence of HCV-RNA. In the ERA1 group, the 46.6% of patients had a sustained viral response to antiviral treatment, and gastrointestinal biopsies were positive for HCV in 73.3% of cases, 54.5% of responders, and 45.5% of non-responders. In the ERA2 group, the 66.6% had a sustained viral response, and gastrointestinal HCV-RNA was present in the 14.3% of patients, all relapsers. Sofosbuvir + ribavirin cleared the intestinal HCV in 85.7% of patients with recurrent HCV infection, while pegylated/interferon + ribavirin cleared it in 26.6% of treated patients, demonstrating the better effectiveness of new direct antiviral agents in clearing HCV intestinal reservoir.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e13345
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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