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HCV Can Infect Mosquito Cells

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  • Claudine Crews
    Hepatitis C Virus Can Infect Mosquito Cells ... By Alka Agrawal, PhD LOS ANGELES, Jun 01 (Reuters Health) - In a very preliminary study, a team of French
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2000
      Hepatitis C Virus Can Infect Mosquito Cells
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      By Alka Agrawal, PhD

      LOS ANGELES, Jun 01 (Reuters Health) - In a very preliminary study, a team
      of French scientists has shown that hepatitis C virus can bind to and
      replicate in mosquito cells. If confirmed, the finding opens up the
      possibility that mosquitoes may account for some of the 20% of cases that do
      not involve a blood transfusion or intravenous drug use.

      "Hepatitis C virus belongs to the family of flaviviruses," Dr. Dominique
      Debriel, of Hospital Pasteur, in Paris, told Reuters Health here last week
      at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. "All the
      flaviviruses are transmitted by arthropods � mosquitoes, ticks, and so on."
      But so far this has not been shown for hepatitis C, he said.

      Using hepatitis C virus from an infected patient, they showed that the virus
      could efficiently bind and replicate in monkey cells and mosquito cells for
      28 days, when the experiment was stopped.

      However, when the researchers looked for the presence of CD81, widely
      considered the receptor for hepatitis C, they found that monkey cells had
      high levels of the protein, but mosquito cells had undetectable levels. Dr.
      Debriel suggested two possibilities: that CD81 is not the only receptor for
      hepatitis C, or that mosquito cells do not have CD81 but instead have an
      ancestral receptor that has adapted itself to the virus.

      He emphasized that this study needs to be replicated with more virus
      isolates and using cells from other mosquitoes and ticks. "We must be very
      prudent," he said. However, if this pans out, they would like to do
      experiments to see if mosquitoes themselves can actually transmit the virus.

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