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Abbott Laboratories (ABT)' Hepatitis C Drugs Clear Virus in 99% of Patients  
10/15/2012 10:43:31 AM

An experimental drug combination from Abbott Laboratories (ABT) wiped out all traces of the virus that causes hepatitis C in 99 percent of patients with the liver disease, a study showed. The 571 patients in the trial took a two- or three-drug mixture of Abbott therapies for 8 to 24 weeks, along with the antiviral ribavirin. A 79-patient group on the combination of three medicines plus ribavirin for 12 weeks responded best, the Abbott Park, Illinois-based company said today in a statement. Abbott is among several companies racing to develop hepatitis C pills to replace the standard yearlong injectable treatment. The viral infection, which can cause liver damage, is estimated to affect 180 million people worldwide, according to the National Institutes of Health. The market for new therapies is estimated to reach $20 billion by 2020. “We feel this regimen is going to be bringing significant efficacy, safety and convenience benefits to patients,” Scott Brun, head of Abbott’s virology development, said in a telephone interview.