thanks fot the summary - the results are indeed impressive and reason to cheer!
However since both Vertex and Merck are under enormous financial pressure at this point (particularly Vertex) I think there is also good reason to skeptically scrutinize the announcements rather than swallow the marketing spin hook, line and sinker. Some details (the actual abstracts , LB-2 for ILLUMINATE and 216 for RESPOND-2, are available on the AASLD site).
ILLUMINATE. They started with 540 naives. Overall SVR 71.9% Of the group 2/3 (65.2%) were eligible for shortened tx but the eligibility criteria was not UND between 4 and 12 but "UND at 4 and 12" (eRVR). Which is saying that that 90% of RVRs (who didn't have breakthrough) go to SVR regardless of 24 or 48w - this is not news. The good news seems to be that the 65.2% fraction that got to RVR is notably higher than with SOC. But what about the third that was not eligible for shortened tx? They don't seem to give that number (wonder why?) but if total SVR was 72% and SVR among the eRVRs is 90% it follows SVR among the non-eRVRs is 54% - same as plain old SOC. Also, 94 pts quit for AEs, a whopping 17.4%.
RESPOND-2: they start with 504 tx failures. Overall SVR is 62% (from line 3 of table) vs 21% for SOC. There seems to be a BIG difference between partial and null responders where null is lt 1log at w4. For nulls even with boce SVR odds were only 33-34% in the two arms whereas for partials they were as good as (or better) than for relapsers. However, as with ILLUMINATE, Merck doesn't spell out the stats among those not eligible for the shortened tx (because they still had VL at w8). By reading between the lines of the two press-releases this seems to add up to 35% to 42% (see
caveat emptor. Still a big improvement but that SVR on the horizon mat be farther than it seems if you don't UND quickly enough with 1st gen PIs.