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Keywords:

  • anti-HCV therapy;
  • hepatitis C virus;
  • interferon;
  • thymosin

Summary.  In this pilot study, we evaluated the efficacy of interferon-α (IFN) plus Thymosin-α 1 (TA1) to that of IFN alone in naive patients with chronic hepatitis C. Twenty-two patients were randomized to receive interferon-α2b (3 million units three times a week) plus thymosin-α l (900 μg/m2 body surface area) and 19 received interferon-α2b alone at the same dose. Patients were treated for 6 months and followed up for another 6 months. Biochemical (alanine aminotransferase values) and virological (hepatitis C virus-RNA) responses to treatment were determined. Combination treatment showed significantly higher efficacy than monotherapy in achieving virological end-of-treatment response (P = 0.03). At 6-month follow up, the sustained biochemical and virological response was not different between the two groups. Our results indicate that the immune modulator TA1 may enhance the end-of-treatment response in naive patients with chronic hepatitis C. Higher doses and/ore more prolonged courses as well as the association with new interferon formulation such as pegylated interferons could improve the sustained response rates to this treatment.