Nearly three decades have passed since the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. During this period, millions of people around the world, including Iran, have fell victim to this virus.
Until recently, a safe, effective, and tolerable treatment was not available for this disease. Hepatitis C patients were treated with weekly interferon injections through a difficult, complicated, and long process sometimes lasting 1.5 years. Still, many patients did not respond and died of advanced cirrhosis and liver failure. Many patients could not even tolerate the drug.
During the last few years multiple new drugs have been invented for the safe and effective treatment of hepatitis C. Unfortunately, the treatment is extremely expensive and very few patients in Iran can afford it.
It was then that the Digestive Disease Research Institute (DDRI) of Tehran University of Medical Sciences decided to produce a combination of these new medicines in one pill. The studies were conducted by Dr Shahin Merat, Dr Amir Hooshang Sharifi, and Dr Hossein Poustchi under the supervision of Dr Reza Malekzadeh, the Head of DDRI.
After about 2 years of research, the final product was ready for clinical use. The pill, named SOVODAK, is extremely effective and studies indicate a success rate of over 98% with virtually no adverse events.
Using this Iranian medicine - SOVODAK - the process of treatment has been simplified to one pill a day for 3 months (84 days).
Since then over 4000 patients throughout the country have been treated with SOVODAK and have been cured from hepatitis C.
With the introduction of drugs such as SOVODAK, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now targeting the elimination of hepatitis C by 2030. The DDRI is already using SOVODAK in pilot studies for this purpose.
There is slightly more than a decade time to achieve this goal. Now, with the availability of SOVODAK, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been able to take a great step in achieving the goals set by WHO and eliminating hepatitis C by 2030.