Spotlight Series on Hepatitis C

"Ask the Experts": Are We Closer to a Hepatitis C Vaccine?

The following is a physician-patient interaction that took place within's "Ask the Experts" forum on hepatitis.

Are we getting closer to developing Hep C vaccine?
Dec 22, 2013

Hello Dr. Taylor,

My question is why has there still been no vaccination for Hep C? Is it much more difficult to create a vaccine for Hep C as opposed to Hep A and B? Are we any closer than we once were in creating the vaccine?

Response from Dr. Taylor

Hepatitis C is a tricky virus. With hepatitis A and B, we can clear the virus (always with A, sometimes with B), and develop a protective antibody. This is the foundation for these vaccines. The antibody we make in our bodies upon exposure to hepatitis C, does not protect us against hepatitis C, and thus cannot be the foundation for a vaccine.

The hep C virus replicates over a trillion times a day in a person with hep C. So producing more viruses occurs very quickly. In this process, mistakes are made, and over time there is variability in the hep c virus. It has been hard to find a target that remains the same across hep C genotypes.

Progress is being made, by brilliant scientists such as Emma Thomson in Scotland.

Return to our full listing of answers to patients' frequently asked questions regarding hepatitis C transmission, testing, management and treatment.

This article was provided by TheBodyPRO.

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