Hepatitis C virus is the leading cause of death and liver transplant in the western world. This disease is also very common that it is incidence is five times more when compared to HIV/ AIDS. Hence researchers at the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) have developed a vaccine candidate to treat hepatitis C infection.
This vaccine technique is very effective in the treatment of Hepatitis C (HCV) infection. It reduced the load of the carrier virus in the body of the mice tremendously in the order of 100000 times when compared to the control. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Network for Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics (CANVAC) funded the research.
The researchers mainly made use of the dendritic cells to fight against the Hepatitis C virus. Dendritic cells play an important role in activation of the immune system. The vaccine significantly reduced the amount of viral protein in the body. This help us to later develop treatments which will pave way to help the patients suffering from liver disease caused by the virus.
People (20%) who have the disease remove the virus without any major problem. When the disease becomes chronic then the immune system finds it difficult to remove the viral load from the body. But studies reveal that in patients suffering from chronic hepatitis there is alteration in the function of the dendritic cells.
Hence these vaccines were created which could signal the dendritic cell and help in the proper activation of the immune system. Then the patient is in a position to control from the body.
The designing of a vaccine is very time consuming and troublesome because the virus always keeps mutating. A patient suffering from the disease may harbor with many different types of strains. Hence the VIDO came up with a vaccine that has a broad range of action and is effective against all strains.