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J Infect Dis. 2002 Jan 15;185(2):153-61. Epub 2002 Jan 3.

The hepatitis C virus (HCV)-Trimera mouse: a model for evaluation of agents against HCV.

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XTL Biopharmaceuticals, Rehovot, Israel.


The lack of small-animal models that are suitable for evaluation of agents used to treat infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) severely hinders the assessment of potential new therapies for the disease. This study created such a model, termed the "HCV-Trimera" model. The HCV-Trimera model was developed by using lethally irradiated mice, reconstituted with SCID mouse bone marrow cells, in which human liver fragments infected ex vivo with HCV had been transplanted. Viremia (positive-strand HCV RNA levels) in HCV-Trimera mice peaked at approximately day 18 after liver transplantation, and an infection rate of 85% was reached. Viral replication in liver grafts was evidenced by the presence of specific negative-strand HCV RNA. The usefulness of this model for evaluation of anti-HCV agents was demonstrated by the ability of a small molecule (an HCV internal ribosomal entry site inhibitor) and an anti-HCV human monoclonal antibody (HCV AB(XTL)68) to reduce virus loads in HCV-Trimera mice in a dose-dependent manner.

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