A new vaccine being developed by a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark may reduce the number of positive hepatitis C tests in the future. They are reporting one of the first successful trials in inoculating animals against the disease.
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects at least 170 million people worldwide and about 4 million people in the United States. It is a big public health problem because most acute hepatitis C infections become chronic which can lead to further liver problems like cirrhosis and cancer.
"The hepatitis C virus (HCV) has the same infection pathways as HIV," says Jan Pravsgaard Christensen, Associate Professor of Infection Immunology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen.
"Approximately one newly infected patient in five has an immune system capable of defeating an acute HCV infection in the first six months. But most cases do not present any symptoms at all and the virus becomes a chronic infection of the liver."