Top testing company Quest Diagnostics has begun offering new hepatitis C tests that can help doctors determine which of the expensive new drugs for the liver-destroying virus will work best for each patient.
The tests could bring patients faster cures and save money by predicting which medicines will fight the patient’s hepatitis C type and which won’t overcome it.
There are six hepatitis C “genotypes,” plus some subtypes, so starting the patient on a drug that the virus won’t resist is crucial. The right choice also could avert wasting considerable money on a less-effective drug, as the new generation of hepatitis C drugs each cost tens of thousands of dollars for a course of treatment.
The test can both predict resistance before treatment and detect resistance during treatment.