Novel hepatitis C vaccine promising in first human trials

the Clinical Advisor take:

An investigational prophylactic hepatitis C virus (HCV) vaccine is safe in humans and induced T-cell responses associated with viral control, according to research published in Science Translational Medicine.

The CDC estimates 70% to 85% of patients diagnosed with HCV develop a chronic infection, and nearly 3.2 million people in the United States have chronic HCV infection. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent against the virus.

“A protective vaccine against hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains an unmet clinical need,” wrote Leo Swalding, BSc, of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues.

In the first-in-man study, researchers assessed the safety and efficacy of an investigational HCV vaccine that consisting of monkey-derived adenoviral vectors encoding proteins from HCV genotype 1b strains using a heterologous prime-boost strategy.

The vaccine induced antiviral immunity comparable to that associated with viral control in natural infection. Participants who received the vaccine had high levels of both CD8u+ and CD4+ HCV-specific T cells targeting multiple HCV antigens, the researchers found.

“We have developed an HCV vaccine strategy, with durable, broad, sustained, and balanced T cell responses, characteristic of those associated with viral control, paving the way for the first efficacy studies of a prophylactic HCV vaccine,” concluded the researchers.

Preventative hepatitis c vaccine found effective in first human trials
Preventative hepatitis c vaccine found effective in first human trials

A protective vaccine against hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains an unmet clinical need. HCV infects millions of people worldwide and is a leading cause of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer.

Animal challenge experiments, immunogenetics studies, and assessment of host immunity during acute infection highlight the critical role that effective T cell immunity plays in viral control. In this first-in-man study, we have induced antiviral immunity with functional characteristics analogous to those associated with viral control in natural infection, and improved upon a vaccine based on adenoviral vectors alone.

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