Development of novel treatments for hepatitis C.
Webster DP., Klenerman P., Collier J., Jeffery KJM.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major and growing global health problem, affecting about 170 million people worldwide, and is a leading cause of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Currently, treatment is restricted to interferon alfa and ribavirin, which leads to a successful outcome in only about 50% of individuals. New effective treatments with tolerable side-effect profiles are needed urgently, but development has been hindered by an inability to culture HCV and a scarcity of animal models. Herein, we review progress in HCV biology, including cell culture and new animal models, and the contribution of this work to our understanding of the virus' life-cycle and pathogenesis and development of specifically targeted antiviral treatment. We also discuss changes in our understanding of HCV epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnostics.