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Nature. 2005 Aug 18;436(7053):967-72.

Mechanism of action of interferon and ribavirin in treatment of hepatitis C.

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  • 1Liver Diseases Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Building 31, Room 9A27, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Since the identification of the hepatitis C virus, great strides have been made in the development of an antiviral therapy. As a crucial mediator of the innate antiviral immune response, interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) was a natural choice for treatment. Whereas treatment with IFN-alpha alone achieved only modest success, the addition of the broad-spectrum antiviral agent ribavirin greatly improved responses. However, half of the infected individuals with chronic disease do not achieve sustained clearance of hepatitis C virus. To optimize current therapeutic strategies and to develop new therapies, a better understanding of the mechanism of action of IFN and ribavirin will be essential.

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