Immune-based strategies for treatment and prevention of hepatitis C virus infection
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects about 3% of the world’s population. Currently, the gold standard therapy does not work in a high percentage of patients and with all genotypes. In addition, it is costly, is associated with many side-effects. So, more convenient therapeutic strategies have been sought. These include, direct acting antivirals (DAAs), and immune-based therapy. Four DAA molecules have recently been approved by FDA. Immune-based therapy aims at augmenting host immunity, thus prevention of infection or clearance of the virus with subsequent recovery can occur. Boosting T cell responses and activating humoral immune reactions have been targeted in the development of novel combating tools. The most intensively studied immune-therapeutic strategies are: 1) vaccines; either therapeutic or prophylactic, 2) dendritic cell immunotherapy, 3) antagonists of T cell inhibitory factors, 4) anti-HCV neutralizing antibodies, 4) cytokines and chemokines, 5) agonists for TLRs, and 6) caspase inhibitors.
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