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Keywords:

  • hepatitis C virus;
  • real-time polymerase chain reaction;
  • viral kinetics

Summary.  Prevention of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection complications can be achieved by antiviral therapy based on the use of a combination of pegylated interferon (IFN)-α and ribavirin. The steady-state kinetics of HCV infection represents the treatment target. The goal is cure, which is achieved when all infected cells have been cleared from the body. Because of their intrinsic properties, real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods are rapidly replacing other technologies for routine quantification of HCV-RNA during antiviral therapy. The virological response at week 12 of therapy is currently used to tailor treatment duration in HCV genotype 1 infection only. Recent reports suggest that the virological response at week 4 could be used to tailor treatment duration, whatever the HCV genotype.