Chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects 170 million people worldwide and is an important cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality. The standard of care therapy combines pegylated interferon (pegIFN) alpha and ribavirin (RBV), and is associated with a range of treatment-limiting adverse effects. One of the most important of these is RBV-induced haemolytic anaemia, which affects most patients and is severe enough to require dose modification in up to 15% of patients. Here we show that genetic variants leading to inosine triphosphatase deficiency, a condition not thought to be clinically important, protect against haemolytic anaemia in hepatitis-C-infected patients receiving RBV.
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