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Keywords:

  • hepatitis C;
  • genotype 5;
  • treatment;
  • Syria

Summary.  Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 5 has only been reported in a few countries and treatment response has not been well characterized. Our aim is to present the treatment outcome for HCV genotype 5 patients evaluated at three medical centres in Syria between January 2004 and June 2007. Medical records were reviewed retrospectively. Treatment consisted of ribavirin 1 000–1 200 mg daily plus interferon α-2a, 3 MU × 3/week or pegylated-interferon α-2a, 180 μg/week. Patients were treated for 24 or 48 weeks. Sustained viral response (SVR) was assessed at the end of a 6-month follow-up period. Twenty-six treatment-naïve patients with HCV genotype 5 have completed the course of anti-HCV therapy and a 6-month follow-up. An SVR was achieved in 54% (47% with standard interferon and 67% with pegylated interferon, P = 0.43). A trend towards better results was observed for younger patients, low viremia and mild fibrosis. SVR was similar for treatment course of 24 or 48 weeks. In summary, treatment of HCV genotype 5 with combination therapy resulted in SVR in 54% of patients. Twenty-four weeks of treatment might be adequate. Further research should evaluate the ideal duration of treatment.