To the Editor: Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects over 225 000 Australians1 and is a leading cause of the need for liver transplantation and of liver-related death, but curative treatments are available. Ethnicity is a major determinant of treatment responsiveness, with the lowest sustained virological response (SVR) rates reported in African patients, and the highest in Asian patients.2 Much of this difference is accounted for by racial differences in polymorphisms in the interleukin-28B (IL28B) gene;3 however, it is unknown how common these polymorphisms are in Indigenous Australians, and no studies have been published about hepatitis C treatment outcomes among Indigenous Australians.
- 1. The Kirby Institute. HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia. Annual Surveillance Report 2012. Sydney: The Kirby Institute, the University of New South Wales, 2012.
- 2. Muir AJ, Hu KQ, Gordon SC, et al. Hepatitis C treatment among racial and ethnic groups in the IDEAL trial. J Viral Hepat 2011; 18: e134-e143.
- 3. Ge D, Fellay J, Thompson AJ, et al. Genetic variation in IL28B predicts hepatitis C treatment-induced viral clearance. Nature 2009; 461: 399-401.
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