1Division of Infectious Diseases, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Chronic hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality worldwide. If untreated, chronic hepatitis C can progress to advanced liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma and death. Until recently, treatment of hepatitis C predominantly constituted an immunomodulatory agent, peg-interferon-alfa and ribavirin. In 2011, the first class of directly acting antiviral agents, HCV NS3/4A serine protease inhibitors, was added to peg-interferon-alfa and ribavirin with increased efficacy. In the past year, an NS5B inhibitor, sofosbuvir, has emerged as a potent agent with pangenotypic efficacy, resulting in the first interferon-free regimen for the treatment of hepatitis C. This review summarizes the data that resulted in regulatory approval of sofosbuvir and highlights the future of hepatitis C therapy with sofosbuvir as the backbone of a highly effective antiviral regimen.