What Are the Differences Between Acute and Chronic Hepatitis C?

Robert Hindes, MD, is a specialist in infectious diseases. As part of his role leading development of HCV medications for Pharmasset and BMS, he developed studies evaluating sofosbuvir as a treatment for hepatitis C.

There are two forms of hepatitis C: acute and chronic. Acute hepatitis C occurs within half a year of exposure to the virus. The acute form lasts for a short while before either clearing up or becoming the chronic version. There is a 75 to 85 percent chance of acute hepatitis C becoming chronic. Chronic hepatitis C is usually a lifelong disease, although in a small percentage of patients. it may spontaneously clear. In some patients, chronic hepatitis leads to liver cancer or cirrhosis.

While there is currently no vaccination for either form of hepatitis C, drugs that suppress the growth of the virus help some patients. There is no proven effective treatment for acute hepatitis C, but effective treatments with anti-viral therapies have been approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C . These treatments are usually administered by a hepatologist, or by an infectious disease expert, such as Robert Hindes, MD.