Does successful eradication of Hepatitis C Virus means healthy liver?
The latest direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) for hepatitis C were launched more than a year ago.  Although the success rate of the new drugs is higher than previous medications, can it truly solve the problem for millions of chronic hepatitis patients? Is the liver safe from injury after a successful treatment? Can the liver recover on its own when the viruses are no longer in the body?
In fact, many chronic hepatitis patients who use antiviral treatment have been sick for many years. Under long term inflammation, the liver may be injured and damaged heavily, leading to fibrosis or even cirrhosis and liver cancer. When the patient undergoes treatment, the burden on the liver increases and it is likely that further damage is caused to their liver and kidney due to the toxicity of the drug. Sometimes this burden and further damage can also lead to other kinds of diseases.  Thus, even after a successful antiviral treatment, the liver may not be absolutely safe from inflammation. More importantly, successful treatment does not indicate that the liver will become healthier. 
Successful eradication of hepatitis virus only means that the virus is no longer present in the patient’s body, this is the only function of antiviral drugs. These antiviral drugs do not prevent liver inflammation or help with recovery of liver health. Therefore, after successful antiviral treatment, the patient must rely on the liver’s self-repair ability to recover from inflammation and regenerate new healthy liver cells, so that normal liver function can return.
Apart from the hepatitis viruses, other substances such as alcohol, fat, heavy metals and drugs can also lead to liver inflammation. To ensure that the liver can quickly recover and maintain healthy function after treatment, the patient must reduce or eliminate all possible intake of these substances , and enhance their self-repair ability. If a patient’s self-repair ability is weak, or if other substances are continuously causing liver inflammation and preventing the recovery of liver cells, then even if the hepatitis virus is successfully eradicated, the liver will remain damaged and unable to resume normal liver function.
Upon successful antiviral treatment, one of the main causes of liver inflammation is removed. However, antiviral drugs cannot help to resume normal liver function and prevent future liver inflammation. Therefore, in the long run, the best way to ensure liver health is to focus on improving daily habits, enhancing the self-repair ability and anti-inflammatory capabilities of the liver.
- Press releases of Harvoni: http://www.gilead.com/news/press-releases/2014/10/us-food-and-drug-administration-approves-gileads-harvoni-ledipasvirsofosbuvir-the-first-oncedaily-single-tablet-regimen-for-the-treatment-of-genotype-1-chronic-hepatitis-c (Accessed: 2015-12-18)
- Post Treatment health issue: https://hepatitisc.net/living/post-treatment-health-issues/(Accessed: 2015-12-18)
- Time to recovery: http://livertox.nih.gov/ClinicalCourse.html (Accessed: 2015-12-18)
- * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.