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Biotech Science

Hepatitis Drug Breakthrough 12

Posted by michael
from the magic-bullet dept.
Lazyhound writes "The BBC reports that scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas are running clinical trials on a new drug (similar to those used to treat HIV patients) that can dramatically reduce levels of the virus in only days."
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Hepatitis Drug Breakthrough

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  • by 4of12 (97621)

    Does it work on Hep C?

    Last I heard, there was no vaccine for that.

    I traveled recently and got vaccinated for Hep A and B.

  • If the virus makes defective copies of itself is there a lessened chance of transmission? It seems they would still be a carrier of the disease but could they transmit it? If the virus is crippled and could not infect new cells it would seem contact with contaminated blood would be much less dangerous.
    • by Muhammar (659468) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:55PM (#5763509)
      Viral protease inhibition: The giant protein chain synthetized for virus capside does not get cleaved into functional subunits as it is supposed to. So, since there are no functional viral proteins available - there is very little new viruses released and those released often are not infectious, because some important protens are missing from them.

      There will be likelyhood of resistance development, but those resistant strains may be less infective - the viral protease has to be highly substrate specific (The giant protein chain has to be cleaved on certain specific spots and only there. So if it has to mutate, it may end-up to be less effective in doing its job.) This things has been already proven with HIV - except that HIV is too hard to eradicate completely and it is also an incredibly fast mutator, so some nasty mutant eventualy escapes. Hep C is nicer infection to treat.
  • This would enable a broader range of people doante blood. Interestingly, it is an anti viral agent, and those implications are enormous!
  • Adaptation (Score:4, Informative)

    by spotted_dolphin (595858) on Friday April 18, 2003 @04:16PM (#5762047)
    We still have to remember that Hepatitis C is an RNA virus like HIV. RNA is inherently more unstable than DNA and thus undergo mutations at a much higher frequency. Just like the more effective treatments for HIV consist of cocktail mixtures (ie. AZT and ddI) the virus may still mutate into forms in which the inhibiting compounds no longer become effective. We certainly don't need these more resistant viruses being propogated!

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