French scientists have developed a novel hepatitis C vaccine that may offer the first effective way to prevent an infection that can cause chronic liver disease and cancer.
There is currently no available vaccine for hepatitis C, though some companies are developing so-called “therapeutic vaccines,” which are designed to help patients who are already infected.
The latest experimental shot has been tested successfully on mice and monkeys, but not humans, and has been shown to activate a broad response from immune system proteins called neutralizing antibodies.
The antibodies fought off multiple variants of the hepatitis C virus in tests, suggesting the new vaccine should be effective even after the virus mutates, the researchers reported on Wednesday.
Neutralizing antibodies play a central role in most existing vaccines against other diseases, but harnessing them in hepatitis C has previously proved elusive. Work to date on therapeutic vaccines has focused on another immune system mechanism known as T-cells.