World journal of virology 5(2) 68-72 doi 10.5501/wjv.v5.i2.68
This review analyses current data concerning co-infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human T lymphotropic virus (HTLV)-1/2 in people who inject drugs (PWID), with a particular focus on disease burden and global implications for virological outcome. In addition, the available treatment options for HTLV-1/2 are summarized and the ongoing and likely future research challenges are discussed. The data in this review was obtained from 34 articles on HCV/HTLV-1/2 co-infection in PWID retrieved from the PubMed literature database and published between 1997 and 2015. Despite unavailable estimates of the burden of HCV/HTLV-1/2 co-infection in general, the epidemiologic constellation of HTLV-1/2 shows high incidence in PWID with history of migration, incarceration, and other blood-borne infectious diseases such as HCV or human immunodeficiency virus. The most recent research data strongly suggest that HTLV-1 co-infection can influence HCV viral load, HCV sustained virological response to α-interferon treatment, and HCV-related liver disease progression. In short, outcome of HCV infection is worse in the context of HTLV-1 co-infection, yet more studies are needed to gain accurate estimations of the burden of HCV/HTLV-1/2 co-infections. Moreover, in the current era of new direct-acting antiviral treatments for HCV and proven HTLV-1/2 treatment options, prospective clinical and treatment studies should be carried out, with particular focus on the PWID patient population, with the aim of improving virological outcomes.