Hepatitis C Virus Vaccines in the Era of New Direct-acting Antivirals

Chao Shi; Alexander Ploss


Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;7(2):171-185. 

In This Article

Five-year View

Based on data from recently completed and ongoing clinical trials, it is foreseeable that potent combinations of directly acting and/or host-targeting antivirals that can effectively cure chronic HCV infection in most patient population will reach the market. However, predicted high costs and potential side effects requiring medical supervision may lessen the impact of pharmacological intervention in resource-poor environments. By contrast to the diverse portfolio of compounds, which currently fill the drug development pipelines, only few vaccination approaches are being evaluated in clinical trials, making it unlikely that a pan-genotypic vaccine will become accessible within the next half decade. Advances in the ability to grow HCV in vitro has provided critical insights in HCV biology but has also led to the construction of new tools to monitor the efficacy of vaccination approaches. The ban of the use of chimpanzees in many countries or the severely diminished resources allocated to chimpanzee research in others, such as the USA, will undoubtedly slow down the development of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines. Considerable effort has been made in the development of alternative animal models yet falling short of a fully immunocompetent animal model that is readily susceptible to HCV infection and mimics closely HCV pathogenesis. Continued animal engineering may yield such an in vivo system, which is urgently needed to preclinically evaluate vaccine candidates.