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Gastroenterology. 2011 Sep;141(3):1067-79. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2011.06.004. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

Differential efficacy of protease inhibitors against HCV genotypes 2a, 3a, 5a, and 6a NS3/4A protease recombinant viruses.

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Copenhagen Hepatitis C Program (CO-HEP), Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Research Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre and Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.



The hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype influences efficacy of interferon (IFN)-based therapy. HCV protease inhibitors are being licensed for treatment of genotype 1 infection. Because there are limited or no data on efficacy against HCV genotypes 2-7, we aimed at developing recombinant infectious cell culture systems expressing genotype-specific nonstructural (NS) protein 3 protease (NS3P).


Viability of J6/JFH1-based recombinants with genotypes 1-7 NS3P/NS4A was evaluated in Huh7.5 human hepatoma cells. Adaptive mutations were identified in reverse genetic studies. Efficacy of lead compound linear protease inhibitors VX-950 (telaprevir) and SCH503034 (boceprevir) and macrocyclic inhibitors TMC435350, ITMN-191 (danoprevir), and MK-7009 (vaniprevir) was determined in high-throughput infection assays.


For genotype(isolate) 2a(J6), 3a(S52), 5a(SA13), and 6a(HK6a), we developed culture systems producing supernatant infectivity titers of 3.5-4.0 log₁₀ focus forming units/mL. Against 2a(J6), 5a(SA13), and 6a(HK6a), all inhibitors showed similar efficacy; macrocyclic inhibitors had ~10-fold greater potency than linear inhibitors. However, compared with 2a recombinant J6/JFH1, efficacy against 3a(S52) was 16- to 70-fold lower for macrocyclic inhibitors and 2- to 7-fold lower for linear inhibitors. Testing of additional genotype 2a and 3a isolates showed that these differences were genotype specific. The resistance of 3a isolates was similar to J6/JFH1 with engineered resistance mutations originally observed for genotype 1 patients. In contrast, we found similar efficacy of NS5A inhibitor BMS-790052 and interferon-alfa2.


Novel HCV culture systems with genotype specific NS3P/NS4A revealed similar efficacy of protease inhibitors against genotypes 2a, 5a, and 6a and comparatively low but varying efficacy against genotype 3a isolates. These systems will facilitate genotype-specific studies of HCV protease inhibitors and of viral resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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