Journal: Current Immunology Reviews
Author(s): Brian P. Latimer, Ebony Gary and Michele A Kutzler
Abstract: Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major health problem worldwide, affecting approximately 3% of the human population. Although decades of research have amassed since the virus was characterized in 1989, there remains no prophylactic HCV vaccine approved for clinical use. The vast genetic variability of HCV, together with weak host immune responses following infection, and a paucity of suitable animal models for HCV vaccine research, have made HCV an elusive vaccine target. Despite the recent advances in medical treatment enjoyed by wealthy nations, there remains an unmet need for an affordable, effective, and accessible means to control HCV disease burden in areas of limited resources, where HCV is most problematic. To this end, several promising HCV vaccine candidates have been reported in recent preclinical and clinical trials. Here we review HCV virology and immunology relevant to rational design of a prophylactic HCV vaccine, and recent studies of preclinical and clinical HCV vaccine candidates.