Unlike Hepatitis B, there is no vaccine available for protection against Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Multi transfused patients eg patients with sickle cell disease and thalassaemia were at particular risk until the early 1990’s as there was no donor screening test available till then. Thus, many older patients have HCV infection. Chronic HCV infection can lead to liver cirrhosis and possibly hepatocellular cancer. Treatment of HCV has been extremely difficult; however, recently, a new class of agents termed ‘direct acting antivirals’ (DAAs) have been developed and used and have shown remarkable effectiveness.
We have just started a retrospective study of HCV treated patients, treated with both the older group of drugs (Alfa interferon + Ribavirin) and also patients treated with the newer DAAs. This is a multicenter study of a large cohort of Omani patients, seen at the Armed Forces Hospital and Sultan Qaboos University Hospital. The total numbers are >400. This would be the largest report from the Middle East. The cohort would include sub groups of patients with thalassaemia and sickle cell disease.
During my time at STIAS, I plan to review the available literature and work out a plan for the eventual manuscript. The data is already available and is being collated.