Highly effective direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) for Hepatitis C treatment are largely inaccessible in sub-Saharan Africa. Data on treatment feasibility and outcomes in clinical settings are limited. We assessed the feasibility of achieving a high (≥90%) cure rate with DAAs in six gastroenterology clinics in Cameroon.
Patients with chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were treated for 12 or 24 weeks with ledipasvir/sofosbuvir, ledipasvir/sofosbuvir/ribavirin or sofosbuvir/ribavirin, depending on the stage of liver disease and HCV genotype. The cure rate was defined as the proportion of patients with a sustained virological response 12 weeks after treatment completion (SVR12) among all treatment completers.
We identified 190 HCV RNA positive patients between September-2017 and August-2018, 161 (84.7%) of whom started treatment. 105 (65.2%) were female, median age was 61.3 years [IQR = 55.9-66.9] and 11 (6.8%) were HIV-positive. Median plasma HCV RNA was 6.0 log IU/mL [IQR = 5.6-6.4]. HCV genotypes identified were 1 (34.8%), 2 (13.7%), 4 (50.9%), 1 and 4 (0.6%); 46 (28.6%) strains of 160 single-genotype infections were non-subtypeable. Of 158 treatment completers, 152 (96.2%, 95%CI = 91.9-98.6%) achieved SVR12. Six patients did not achieve SVR12: five carried HCV with NS5A resistance mutations and one with NS5B resistance mutations. Three patients died before and two after treatment completion. The most common adverse events were asthenia (12.0%), headache (11.4%) and dizziness (18.9%).
High cure rates of Hepatitis C with DAAs are achievable in clinical settings of Cameroon. However, the accessibility and provision of HCV screening, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and care should be addressed for large-scale implementation.
© 2020 The Authors Tropical Medicine & International Health Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.