Hepatitis C virus--biology, host evasion strategies, and promising new therapies on the horizon

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


(c) 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Hepatitis C reduces the quality of life for some 170 million people around the globe and is one of the most prevalent diseases on the planet. It is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that is replicated by an error-prone polymerase and therefore undergoes rapid evolution. To date, although much has been learned about the biology of HCV, only a partially effective combination therapy comprised of ribavirin and pegylated-interferon-alpha is available to hepatitis C sufferers. Given the prevalence of hepatitis C, together with the fact that almost half the chronically infected HCV patients are refractory to current therapy, there is an urgent need for an efficacious immunoprophylactic that protects individuals from HCV infection, as well as drugs that impede the viral life cycle effectively and eradicate infection. Herein, I provide an overview of the molecular biology of HCV, highlighting the functions of different virally encoded proteins in terms of how they alter signaling pathways of host cell to establish an infection and discuss whether a more promising therapy for treating hepatitis C is anywhere in sight.


Medicinal Research Reviews