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Southampton Health Technology Assessments CentreNews

SHTAC is critically appraising manufacturer’s submission to NICE on new drug for adults with chronic hepatitis C

Published: 10 February 2014

SHTAC is assessing the clinical-effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of sofosbuvir for the treatment of adults with chronic hepatitis C for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Single Technology Appraisal process.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that infects the cells of the liver, with most cases resulting from exposure to contaminated blood. Some people with hepatitis C virus clear the infection naturally, but in many the infection is persistent. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis C infection may cause inflammation of the liver which in some patients leads eventually to cirrhosis or hepatocellular cancer and in severe cases may require liver transplant. In the early stages there may be few symptoms, and so the number of infected people is difficult to determine precisely. Around 173,000 people are thought to be chronically infected with hepatitis C in England and Wales, of which 17,000 are receiving treatment.

Sofosbuvir is classed as a ‘second generation nucleoside analogue' drug which prevents the replication of the hepatitis C viral genome by inhibiting the action of the viral RNA polymerase enzyme. Sofosbuvir is intended to be used in combination with the currently-used drugs for chronic hepatitis C, peginterferon-alfa and/or ribavirin.

NICE is expected to issue guidance to the health service in England and Wales on sofosbuvir in October 2014.

For more information on SHTAC's research into infectious diseases please visit our Research page

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