Researchers Find Cheap, Effective Hepatitis Treatment
Friday, April 10, 2015
Researchers have discovered that an inexpensive allergy medicine can treat hepatitis C, a serious liver disease.
The medicine is chlorcyclizine HCL, an antihistamine that has been around for a half-century. Researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health have found that chlorcyclizine and similar “repurposed” drugs can treat hepatitis C by blocking the virus so it cannot infect liver cells.
The discovery was made using a cell-based, high-throughput screening method. The technique is used to analyze thousands of government-approved compounds quickly for their effectiveness against viral and bacterial infections.
The research is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Jake Liang, chief of the Liver Diseases Branch at NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases near Washington, where the discovery was made, said that the hepatitis virus “continues to infect new cells as the infection goes on. So, our thought is, if we can prevent or destruct that reinfection process, the infected cells will die eventually, so you would not have any more infected cells.”