PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCH
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a global health concerns with approximately 185 million chronic infections and estimated 350,000 annual mortalities. It is estimated that over 100,000 Nepalese are infected with HCV. Intravenous drug users are identified as a HCV high risk population. Clinical manifestation of HCV infection is mainly associated with liver damage. Pegylated-Interferon and ribavirin based treatment is available in Nepal and are prescribed as part of treatment option for HCV infections. However, it is reported that the efficacy of pegIFN/RBV depends on not only the viral genotype and viral load but also host physiology and genetics.
CMDN has successfully genotyped and quantified HCV from clinical samples collected from various regions of Nepal. Further, host genetic factors (Interleukin-28B; IL-28B) associated with HCV infected people on the course of pegIFN/RBV treatment have also been characterized. Findings from this study are useful in designing national HCV treatment program with interferon-based therapy for Nepal.