The identification of NANB hepatitis became the subject of intensive research after hepatitis A and hepatitis B were excluded as causes of transfusion-associated hepatitis. Successful transmission of NANB hepatitis to chimpanzees confirmed that researchers were dealing with a transmissible agent.
Researchers from Chiron Corporation used a molecular approach on large volumes of experimentally infected chimpanzee plasma supplied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. RNA was extracted and cloned into an expression vector and then screened with immune sera presumed to be NANB. A single positive clone was identified during screening, and the genome of HCV was subsequently sequenced. The National Institutes of Health confirmed discovery of the virus using retrospective analysis of pedigreed samples.[4,5]
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