The Scientist Who Discovered Hepatitis C Says He’s Now Discovered the Vaccine
By Kristen Philipkoski Feb 21, 2012 5:11 PM
In a poetic turn of virology, the scientist who discovered hepatitis C in 1989 has now also discovered a vaccine that will hopefully cure the now-incurable disease.
Not only is it poetic, it's an accomplishment that many thought was impossible. Because hepatitis C is more virulent than HIV, no one was confident a vaccine against all the various strains around the world could be developed. But Michael Houghton, the University of Alberta researcher who announced his work today at the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Summit in Vancouver, says his vaccine works against every known strain of the virus.
It could still be up to seven years before the vaccine goes through the necessary phases of clinical trials and receives FDA approval, but it's amazing news for people who thought they'd be living with hepatitis C for the rest of their lives. It also remains to be seen how much impact the vaccine will have in people who already have the disease—it will be most effective as a preventive against acquiring the disease. Hundreds of thousands of people get hepatitis C every year, and 20 to 30 per cent of them develop liver disease.
Immunol Rev. 2011 Jan;239(1):99-108. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2010.00977.x.
Prospects for prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines against the hepatitis C viruses.
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. michael.***@****
Encouraging efficacy data have been obtained in the hepatitis C virus (HCV) chimpanzee model using prophylactic vaccines comprising adjuvanted recombinant envelope gpE1/gpE2 glycoproteins or prime/boost immunization regimens using defective adenoviruses and plasmid DNA expressing non-structural genes. While usually not resulting in sterilizing immunity after experimental challenge, the progression to chronic, persistent infection (which is responsible for HCV-associated pathogenicity in human) is inhibited. These and other vaccine candidates are in clinical development for both prophylactic as well as possible therapeutic applications. Given that other vaccines tested in the chimpanzee model may be possibly increasing the rate of chronicity, it is very important that this model continues to be available and used prior to initiation of clinical development. Several vaccine monotherapy trials in chronically infected HCV patients are resulting in small declines in viral load, suggesting that in future, combining vaccination with antiviral drug treatment may be beneficial.
One learns something new every day. I could be wrong, but I think it may be a first. Regardless, it is very good news. If they have figured out a way for a vaccine to not only prevent a person from developing a disease but also to help those already infected, that is wonderful.
I am glad to hear of all of this and thought that what Rockymoe reported was interesting.
"There was also a segment on NBC nightly news. They would like to screen boomers between the ages 45 to 65."
I really think they should do that. There are still many people infected that don't know it. It seems we are getting close to irradicating this beast and that would be helpful to us all. Thanks for the post OH.
While you are correct that current vaccines PREVENT disease, major research is underway for treatment of disease using vaccines. None are showing a lot of success to my knowledge. Treatment vaccines are in research for HIV, HCV, and various types of cancer.
Yes, I learned that yesterday, lol. It is great news but I had not read about it before yesterday. I just thought the reporter got her facts mixed up. It would really be great if they could develop something like that which would not only prevent Hep C but also help treat it.
"I'm happy that there IS some information getting out there, though. I knew NOTHING about HCV before I was diagnosed."
Feel the same way about this and the PR just released from CDC. There's still alot of negative stigma to be unlearned, but progress is good to see. It is sad to see the sitcoms are still poking fun a HCV patients, while they won't use HIV/AIDS or Cancer with the same attempts at humor. We have a long way to go in educating the public.
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