Asunaprevir-containing regimens for the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection

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Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been a tremendous health burden worldwide with an annual mortality of 300,000 people due to decompensated cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. A combination of interferon (IFN), ribavirin (RBV), and/or direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) can eradicate HCV in a various proportion of infected patients. Unfortunately, IFN-based therapy is associated with significant adverse effects, contraindications, and limited tolerability, leading to lower adherence or even treatment discontinuation. With the rapid evolution of newer DAAs or host-targeting agents, emerging HCV therapy is moving towards an IFN- and RBV-free strategy. To this end, a recently developed NS3 protease inhibitor, asunaprevir (ASV), in combination with other DAAs as IFN/RBV-containing or -free regimen, has shown promising results with fewer adverse effects. In this review, preclinical profiles and clinical proof-of-concept studies of ASV, including viral resistance, host polymorphism, and role of ASV in future HCV therapy are reviewed and discussed.

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