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First report of acquired HCV immunity lifts vaccine hopes

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  • claudine intexas
    http://www.mediscover.net/hotnewsdet.cfm?hnid=4 First report of acquired HCV immunity lifts vaccine hopes A report in this week’s Lancet suggests that some
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2002
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      http://www.mediscover.net/hotnewsdet.cfm?hnid=4

      First report of acquired HCV immunity lifts vaccine hopes

      A report in this week�s Lancet suggests that some people can acquire
      immunity against chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, echoing
      earlier findings in chimpanzees. Despite the �alarming� rate of
      infection within the study cohort, the authors say their discovery
      could help in the search for an effective HCV vaccine.
      Posted: 30-Apr-02
      For more Details

      HCV is a major cause of acute hepatitis and chronic liver disease,
      including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Globally, an estimated 170
      million people are chronically infected with HCV, and 3�4 million
      people are newly infected each year. HCV is spread primarily by
      direct contact with human blood, and is therefore common among those
      who share needles without adequate sterilization.


      From a local community of intravenous drug users, Shruti Mehta and
      fellow epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health used
      blood tests to identify 164 people who had never been infected with
      HCV and 98 who had been infected but had cleared the infection.


      Of participants who had not been infected previously, 21% became
      infected with HCV during the 2-year study period. In contrast, 12% of
      participants who had already cleared a HCV infection in the past
      became infected again.


      �Those who previously recovered from infection and were then infected
      again often resolved the new infection, suggesting that immunity
      could be developed that promotes recovery,� said David Thomas,
      co-author. �This is important because prior studies that showed that
      you could be reinfected cast doubt on the prospects of developing an
      effective vaccine.�


      Although re-infection did occur in the study, these infections
      usually cleared and would not be expected to cause disease, claim the
      researchers.


      Furthermore, co-infection with HIV had a significant impact on the
      likelihood of becoming infected with HCV, the report indicates.
      People who were not infected with HIV were 12 times less likely to
      develop chronic HCV infection than those who were HIV positive.


      In a related editorial, David Grant (Memorial University, Canada)
      comments: �While the most positive interpretation of this unique
      study offers hope that protection against HCV can be acquired, the
      immunogenicity of human vaccines still pales compared with that of
      genuine infections. The need for continued creative research in
      vaccine design is emphatically underlined by the, at best, part
      protection against persistent secondary infection conferred by
      clearance of primary infection with HCV itself.�


      Lancet 2002; 359:1478�1483




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