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Going Viral: New Hepatitis C Drugs Owe Their Success to HIV

The treatment of hepatitis C virus infections has taken a major step forward with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of two new drugs, telaprevir and boceprevir, for managing the disease. Blocking the same viral protein as the first ­anti-HIV drugs, they are also the latest chapter in an ongoing story of medical success.

Telaprevir and boceprevir are protease inhibitors, thwarting the activity of key viral enzymes. The first in this class of drugs was saquinavir, available since 1995 for the treatment of HIV. Several protease inhibitors have subsequently been developed for HIV, but the new hepatitis C drugs are the first to tackle other viruses.

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