The pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy has a success rate of, on average, over 50%, and with some genotypes, up to 80%. Factors such as the age, weight and gender of the patients, and the genotype of the virus affect how well the treatment works.
Current evidence suggests that around 25% of those infected with hepatitis C will clear the virus at the acute stage.
Of the 75% who do not:
- Some will remain well, and never develop liver damage
- Many will develop only mild to moderate liver damage (with or without symptoms)
- About 20% will progress to cirrhosis of the liver over a period of 20 years
- A small proportion of those with cirrhosis will progress to primary liver cancer or liver failure