Delivering antibodies that recognize the hepatitis C virus (HCV) can be therapeutically beneficial in a mouse model, according to a Brief Communication in Nature Medicine.
A major problem in developing vaccines for HCV is the extreme variability of the virus. One idea has been to inject antibodies that work against the virus - what is referred to as 'passive immunotherapy' - hoping that it will reveal if antibodies can protect against infection. Dennis Burton and colleagues identify human antibodies that neutralize in vitro genetically diverse strains of HCV. Furthermore, the authors show that, if they inject the antibodies into mice carrying human liver cells, these 'humanized' mice are protected from HCV infection.
The finding that neutralizing human antibodies protect against viral infection provides proof of principle for the viability of passive immunotherapy against HCV, and raises hopes that it will reveal if antibodies can protect against infection.
Dennis Burton (Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
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