An Overview of Hepatitis C Vaccines
Alexis Garcia, Saturnino Fernandez, Felix Toro and Juan B. De Sanctis
Affiliation: Instituto de Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 50109, Caracas 1050-A, Venezuela.
Keywords: DNA vaccines, hepatitis C virus, immune response, liposomes, vaccines, viral vectors, virus particles.
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a prevalent human pathogen that causes persistent liver infections in most
infected individuals; thus, efforts to develop a safe vaccine, preventive and therapeutic, are urgently needed. Current
approaches for the vaccine include the use of recombinant E1 and E2 proteins, synthetic peptides, viral particles, viral
vectors, DNA vaccines, dendritic cells, and prime-boost strategies. However, several problems have been encountered:
restricted humoral and cell mediated responses, the low delivery of potentially protective viral epitopes, and the low
effectiveness of the adjuvants used in the different protocols. Strong neutralizing antibodies and powerful cellular immune
responses are required for an effective vaccine against HCV. New patents are being developed to enhance both immune
responses. The high prevalence of global HCV infection obliges the development of new efforts in primary prevention;
therefore, a safe and efficient vaccine to confer protection against HCV is urgently needed.
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