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Scripps Researchers Produce New Image Of Hep C Virus That Could Help Search For Vaccine

Aired 12/2/13 on KPBS News.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have produced a new image of a crucial part of the hepatitis C virus that could aid in the search for a vaccine.

Photo by Christina Corbaci

Credit: The Scripps Research Institute

The new picture of hepatitis C's E2 protein, which the virus uses to infect liver cells, will aid in the design of a vaccine against the disease.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have produced a detailed picture of a key part of the hepatitis C virus. The finding could aid in the search for a hepatitis C vaccine.

The hepatitis C virus is one of the leading causes of cirrhosis and liver cancer. It can be treated, but there’s no vaccine.

Scripps Research Institute scientists have spent the last six years coming up with a detailed picture of the virus’s protein structure. The virus uses this protein to infect liver cells.

Scripps immunologist Mansun Law said the goal is to develop better candidates for a hepatitis C vaccine.

“So with this new development and this new data, now we know exactly how to design new molecules that may produce a better neutralizing antibody response than what we have already tested,” Law explained.

Hepatitis C is transmitted through injection drug use or other contact with infected blood. It kills more than 350,000 people worldwide each year.

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