The Challenge of Treating Children With Hepatitis C Virus Infection
The development of oral hepatitis C virus (HCV) direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) has revolutionized the therapeutic field. Nowadays, multiple safe and highly effective antiviral regimens are commercially available to treat adults with hepatitis C infection. These new regimens for the first time genuinely raise the prospects of eradicating HCV. Many challenges, however, remain from identifying infected individuals to optimizing treatment and ensuring global access to antiviral therapy to all population groups, including children. Recently, in April 2017, the association of sofosbuvir with ribavirin and the fixed-dose combination sofosbuvir/ledipasvir have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of children with chronic HCV infection 12 years of age and older. The only drugs currently approved for children younger than 12 years are pegylated interferon and ribavirin. There are 6 registered ongoing pediatric trials assessing safety and efficacy of DAAs, but their current completion timelines are years away. Herein, we summarize the state of the art of DAAs’ development for adult and children and highlight the crucial importance of overcoming barriers to treating children with HCV.