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Interleukin-28B (IL28B), also known as IFN-λ3, is a gene that has drawn significant attention in the field of pharmacogenetics due to its role in the treatment of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection. Understanding the genetic variations of IL28B can aid in predicting an individual’s response to antiviral therapy, thereby offering a more personalized approach to Hepatitis C treatment.

IL28B encodes for a type III interferon, which is essential for initiating antiviral responses. Several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the IL28B gene region have been associated with differential outcomes in antiviral therapy, particularly concerning pegylated interferon-alpha (PEG-IFN-α) and ribavirin treatment for HCV. Specific SNPs in the IL28B gene, such as rs12979860 and rs8099917, have been correlated with the likelihood of achieving a sustained virological response (SVR) to PEG-IFN-α and ribavirin therapy. Patients with the favorable ‘CC’ genotype at rs12979860 have been found to have a significantly higher chance of attaining SVR compared to those with ‘CT’ or ‘TT’ genotypes.

Understanding a patient’s IL28B genotype can guide clinicians in treatment selection and management. For example, individuals with unfavorable IL28B genotypes may benefit from alternative treatment regimens or extended therapy durations to improve the likelihood of SVR. As new direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) become increasingly prevalent in HCV treatment, understanding the role of IL28B in therapy outcomes remains relevant for identifying which patients may still benefit from older, less expensive treatments or for those who fail to respond to DAAs.