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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2011;65:307-27. doi: 10.1146/annurev-micro-090110-102954.

Turning hepatitis C into a real virus.

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The Center for the Study of Hepatitis C, The Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10065, USA.


The reality of hepatitis C is inescapable for the estimated 130 million people worldwide chronically infected with the virus. Yet this pathogen has been notoriously difficult to move from the infected individual into experimental systems, and each advance--from the identification of the infectious agent to its culture and study--has been a significant challenge. As a result of unrelenting technical hurdles, preventative and therapeutic options have been slow to reach hepatitis C patients. More than 35 years since the recognition of the disease, there is no vaccine available, and the only approved treatment, a combination of pegylated interferon-alpha (IFN-α) and ribavirin, is frequently ineffective. Decades of research, however, have resulted in systematic progress and much is now known about this once elusive pathogen. Most importantly, key breakthroughs have stimulated drug discovery, and the first generation of specifically targeted antiviral inhibitors is poised to enter the market. This review provides a look back at progress in developing tractable model systems for this important agent of chronic hepatitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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