Project Seeks New Hepatitis C Treatment Strategies

Worldwide there are more than 350,000 HCV-related deaths per year.

A newly-funded project will allow scientists to develop novel strategies for treating hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Approximately 160 million individuals are infected with HCV worldwide. In high-income countries, HCV accounts for significantly more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. Furthermore, it is the most common cause for liver transplantation in the UK.

Unfortunately, HCV treatments are expensive, and the HCV burden typically falls on the poor.

The project takes a new look at the issue through a recently developed model system. The investigators hope to develop and analyze new strategies for HCV vaccination with a goal of designing effective vaccines and immune-therapeutics for HCV in all populations.

“I think this exciting collaborative project reflects where science really needs to go if we are going to continue to make successful in-roads into the treatment and prevention of infectious disease not just for the few, but for everyone,” said project lead Peter Simmonds. “It takes advantage of a diverse scientific expertise to address a substantial societal world problem.”

The project is spearheaded by scientists from the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford, and the School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences at the University of Plymouth. It is funded by the Medical Research Council.