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Treating viral heart infections

Patients with type of heart failure respond to interferon treatment

NEW ORLEANS — A viral infection of the heart can be eliminated or at least slowed by treatment with the drug interferon, a team of European researchers reports. Viral infections show up in some patients with heart failure and may bear some responsibility for the condition, particularly when it shows up in young or middle-age patients.

Although the new results are preliminary, many patients reported feeling better, cardiologist Heinz-Peter Schultheiss of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin reported November 11 at the American Heart Association’s annual Scientific Sessions meeting.

The findings also suggest yet another role for interferon, a multipurpose drug that, in slightly different forms, is used against the hepatitis C virus and multiple sclerosis.

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