Hepatitis C vaccine trials give promising results

Hepatitis C vaccine trials give promising resultsResearchers at Oxford University have said that early trials of a potential vaccine for Hepatitis C have given promising results.

Hepatitis C can cause severe liver damage and even lead to liver cancer, but currently there is no vaccine to cure the disease. Like HIV, the Hepatitis C virus can effortlessly assume new disguises, making it difficult for the immune system to recognize it.

The Science Translational Medicine quoted the researchers saying that their early trials on 41 patients showed the vaccine has the potential to cure the condition.

Researchers modified cold viruses with genetic material from the hepatitis C virus to prime the immune system and attack the hepatitis C virus. The researchers attacked the inner workings of the virus rather than the unpredictable surface markings.

Professor Paul Klenerman, one of the researchers involved in the study, said, "That's where the engine of the virus is, where we may be able to successfully target many of the crucial pieces of machinery."

The main objective of the first phase of the trial was to verify if the treatment was safe for humans and to help plan upcoming trials.

There are an estimated 170 million people suffering from Hepatitis C worldwide.