Indian scientists develop Hepatitis C vaccine

Bengaluru: A group of Indian scientists has developed a vaccine meant to treat Hepatitis C, a virus or infection that causes liver disease and inflammation of the liver.

According to the report in Times of India, the team from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, has developed a vaccine for HCV genotype 3a.

The scientists said the vaccine has shown promising results in preclinical studies and is customised for the Indian population.

It is said that several preclinical trials of virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccine strategies are in progress throughout the world.

But in the present study, Professor Saumitra Das and his team generated gt3a hepatitis C virus-like particles (HCV-LP). According to the scientists, the vaccine they have created is a “molecular cocktail of virus-like particles that mimics HCV along with a bio-engineered adenovirus vector (viral vectors are tools commonly used by molecular biologists to deliver genetic material into cells), encoding the core and envelope proteins of HCV”.

The researchers then inserted those genes of HCV into the adenovirus vector so that it would provoke the immune system to produce neutralising antibodies against the hepatitis C virus, sates the report.

The Hepatitis C virus is spread through direct contact with infected blood. And among the many strains of the virus, HCV genotype 3a (gt3a) is the predominant strain found in the Indian sub-continent.

The discovery may come as a huge relief to patients and the the country as a whole that has about 12 million people suffering from chronic Hepatitis C.

The research, funded by the Indo-Australian Biotechnology Fund (IABF), department of biotechnology, Government of India, has been published in the journal ‘Vaccine’.

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