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Adv Virus Res. 2004;63:71-180.

Novel insights into hepatitis C virus replication and persistence.

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Department of Molecular Virology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 345, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a small enveloped RNA virus that belongs to the family Flaviviridae. A hallmark of HCV is its high propensity to establish a persistent infection that in many cases leads to chronic liver disease. Molecular studies of the virus became possible with the first successful cloning of its genome in 1989. Since then, the genomic organization has been delineated, and viral proteins have been studied in some detail. In 1999, an efficient cell culture system became available that recapitulates the intracellular part of the HCV life cycle, thereby allowing detailed molecular studies of various aspects of viral RNA replication and persistence. This chapter attempts to summarize the current state of knowledge in these most actively worked on fields of HCV research.

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