Hepatitis C Virus Efrem Lim Introduction 170 million worldwide 1.8% in US (~3.9 million) 8,000-10,000 deaths per year Important cause of: Chronic liver disase, Cirrhosis (inflammation), Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) ?non A, non B hepatitis? (till 1989) Causative Agent Positive single-stranded RNA virus Polyprotein processed into structural and non-structural proteins RNA-dependent RNA polymerase High mutation rate 6 Genotypes Targets Hepatocytes in liver Diagnosis Acute infection (Malaise/Asymptomatic) Chronic infection Usually suspected from liver disease 1. Test for HCV antibodies in serum 2. HCV RNA in blood (e.g. PCR) 3. Liver Biopsy Transmission Direct contact with blood Blood transfusion (prior to 1990) Nosocomial (unsterilized needles, etc.) Needle-sharing Ear or body piercing, tattooing Not from: Sneezing, coughing Sharing utensils Casual contact Hugging Antiviral Treatment Interferon (IFN) a-2a, a-2b Cytokine induction, NK and CTL cells Ribavirin IFN-Alphacon-1 PEG-IFN (Peg molecule added) Mono or Double therapy Expensive 75% adverse effect: Neuropsychiatric complications, Flu-like, GI complications? Vaccine & Prevention No vaccine Narrow host range Prevention ??Don?t share your needles?? Summary Hepatitis C Virus is a RNA virus that usually causes chronic infections Transmitted through blood Prevention is the best cure
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