Alpha-Interferon Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C: Need for Accurate Diagnosis in Selecting Patients

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For two decades, therapy for viral hepatitis has included alpha-interferon, but only this year was the drug licensed for treatment of chronic non-A, non-B hepatitis. The licensing of the drug for use in patients with non-A, non-B hepatitis, rather than only in those with a specific diagnosis of hepatitis C (HCV), reflects both state-of-the-art knowledge of HCV testing with the commercially available test for antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV) (70% to 80% positive in "high-risk" populations; that is, those with risk factors for non-A, non-B hepatitis infection) as well as the possibility that there are "non-A, non-B, non-C" viruses yet to

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