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

Expert Commentary

The field of HCV research has witnessed exciting breakthroughs in recent years. Two specific antiviral inhibitors have reached the market, and many more are at the late stage of development. Combination therapies with the new antivirals are projected to cure HCV infection efficiently in most patients who can afford the treatment. However, the socially disadvantaged, who face the highest risk of HCV infection in developed countries, along with the vast majority in the developing world, are less likely to gain immediate access to the current medical innovations. Thus, a vaccine administered to high-risk populations in both developed and, in particular, developing countries represents a cost-effective alternative in the era of new antivirals. Immunological control of HCV is possible, but the genetic and antigenic diversity of the virus poses a major challenge to vaccine development, yet substantial progress has been made. Various vaccination approaches are being exploited, having yielded several candidates for human trials. Vaccine research is prominently advanced by new methodologies adopted for in vitro and in vivo studies on HCV infection. The introduction of small animal models will enable a better understanding in the immunology of HCV infection and more rigorous preclinical tests on vaccine candidates. If we are experiencing a harvest season for DAAs, the coming one is for HCV vaccines.