To test whether interferon can prevent acute non‐A, non‐B hepatitis from becoming chronic, a prospective controlled trial was conducted in 25 patients; 11 were treated for an average of 30 days with a mean of 52 megaunits of interferon and 14 acted as controls. 4 patients in the treatment group who continued to have raised serum aminotransferase concentrations after a year's follow‐up were given a second course of interferon. Follow‐up at 3 years has revealed that all but 1 of those treated showed normal serum aminotransferase, whereas only 3 controls showed such change (p < 0.02). Serum hepatitis C virus RNA became undetectable in 10 of 11 treated and in only 1 of 12 control patients, which suggests that interferon prevents the progression of acute non‐A, non‐B hepatitis to chronicity by eradicating HCV.
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