SVR is the closest you'll get to "a cure" for hepatitis. Sustained virologic response, or SVR, is the goal of hepatitis C treatment. Conventional treatment (a combination of interferon and ribavirin) doesn't necessarily eliminate the hepatitis C virus from your liver. It can, however, suppress the virus to undetectable levels for an extended period of time. In clinical language, this is called a "sustained virologic response," or sustained response. It means that during the six months after you complete treatment, there is no detectable hepatitis C virus in your blood.
SVR is a good thing. Studies have shown that with a six-month SVR (which means no detectable virus in your blood for six months after finishing treatment), relapse occurred in only 1-2% of patients. So, for every 100 people who finished treatment and attained SVR, the virus will return in only 2 of them. However, for these people, the virus never really left. The medicine was able to eliminate most of the virus (so much that medical tests couldn't detect it), but after treatment ended, for whatever reason the virus was able to continue replicating itself.
Early SVR is beneficial. Since the liver has incredible regenerative ability, achieving SVR as quickly as possible is important. This is important because some liver damage can be reversed if the cause of the damage is removed. After SVR is reached and depending on the degree of damage from the virus, the risk of hepatocellular cancer is reduced and about 25% of people see an improvement in fibrosis.
SVR compares one treatment to another. For those in treatment, SVR is the goal. However, for physicians and scientists researching new hepatitis treatments, SVR is also used to evaluate new medicines and compare them with proven therapies. For example, depending on the genotype, treatment with interferon alone usually achieves SVR in 15% of the patients. When interferon is combined with ribavirin in the same genotype, SVR is increased to 70% in some people.
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