Arabinoxylan rice bran (Biobran) suppresses the viremia level in patients with chronic HCV infection: A randomized trial
- Hosny Salama, Eman Medhat, Magda Shaheen, Abdel-Rahman N Zekri, Tarneem Darwish and Mamdooh Ghoneum
Current treatments for Hepatitis C virus (HCV) have severe side effects and are very expensive. There is a need to explore effective natural therapies against HCV that are less toxic and more cost-effective. In the current study, 37 chronic HCV patients were randomized into two groups and treated with either pegylated interferon (PEG IFN) plus ribavirin (n = 21) or Biobran, an arabinoxylan from rice bran (1 g/day) (n = 16). We examined viremia, liver enzymes, interferon-γ (IFN-γ) levels in serum, and toxicity before and three months after treatment. Both groups showed a significant and similar reduction in viral load after three months of treatment relative to the baseline viral load (P <0.05). In addition, treatment with Biobran resulted in a significant increase in the level of IFN-γ (P <0.001). Patients in the PEG IFN plus ribavirin group showed fever, anemia, thrombocytopenia, and easy fatigue. Patients in the Biobran group showed no side effects and reported good health. We conclude that Biobran is a potential novel therapeutic regimen that has a similar effect to PEG IFN plus ribavirin and is safe and cost-effective in the treatment of chronic HCV. Our finding of Biobran's efficacy against HCV infection warrants further investigation in multiple clinical trials (Clinical Trials Registration: NCT02690103).
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