Indian scientists may have just found a cure for Hepatitis C. According to reports, approximately 15 to 20% cases of chronic liver disease in India are caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection.
A new vaccine, developed by Professor Saumitra Das from IISc and his team, has shown promising results during pre-clinical trials.
HCV spreads by direct contact with the blood of an infected person. Initially, people have mild or no symptoms. But it develops over the years and and can cause severe liver complications, sometimes leading to cancer. The HCV genotype 3a is the predominant strain found in the Indian subcontinent. And the vaccine has been developed to fight this strain.
The team was funded by research grants from the Indo-Australian Biotechnology Fund, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
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Several pre-clinical trials to develop vaccines for this disease are under way in many countries.
Representative photo source: vaccineresistancemovement.org
According to the findings, the vaccine was able to produce antibodies that can neutralise the virus in the host, in this case mice. It also generated good cellular immune responses in the host.
The next stage of research will involve testing in higher animals before it reaches clinical trials.
The discovery will come as a huge relief to the nearly 12 million patients in the country suffering from chronic Hepatitis C.