Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to know my genotype?

We select your drug therapy according to the specific genotype you have, as each genotype can respond differently to treatment.

How do I find out my genotype?

This is a simple blood test. It is covered by insurance. If you have this already on your lab results, we may not need to repeat it.

What is "Genotype" and how does it affect my treatment?

There are 6 types of Hepatitis C. Each type is called a Genotype. Think of these genotypes as siblings in the same family. Siblings have a lot in common with each other but each responds a little differently from the other.

Genotype 1.

Genotype 1 makes up 80% of all US infections; 50% are 1a, and 30% are 1b. Genotype 1 used to be considered the hardest to cure. With the advent of combination treatments this is no longer true. Several combination treatments for Genotype 1 are now available with cure rates of 90-100%. Approved Genotype 1 regimens include Harvoni, Viekira Pak, and Sovaldi given with Olysio.

Ribavirin is also needed when Viekira Pak is used to treat Genotype 1a.

Genotype 2:

About 15% of cases in the US are Genotype 2. Treatment is usually successful with 3 months treatment of Sovaldi and Ribavirin. There are ongoing trials to improve on this.

Genotype 3:

Genotype 3 accounts for just 6% of US strains, but in some populations such as military veterans, it is more common. Genotype 3 has proved relatively harder to cure than the other Genotypes. It is also more associated with heavy fat in the liver and a more rapid progression to cirrhosis.

Treatment is usually Sovaldi and Ribavirin; response is not as good as for Genotype 2 and it needs to be given for 6 months. There are many clinical trials ongoing to improve the cure rate of Genotype 3.

Genotype 4:

Genotype 4 accounts for only 1% of cases, but in immigrants from North Africa, it is the most common. It also occurs in outbreaks in other countries, such as Mexico. Accepted treatment for Genotype 4 is Sovaldi with Ribavirin, Harvoni, or Sovaldi with Olysio, and rarely, interferon, ribavirin and Sovaldi.

Genotype 5

Genotype 5 originates in South Africa and is very rare in the US. There is less known about the treatment but it appears to respond well to the treatments mentioned above. If you have Genotype 5, please let us know.

Genotype 6

Originates in South East Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. There is less known about the treatment of Genotype 6 but it appears to respond well to the treatments mentioned above.

Take home on Genotype: Genotype is important and easy to obtain. Dr. Ruane needs to know which genotype you have in order to properly treat you.