Scientists have determined the most detailed picture, yet of a crucial part of the hepatitis C virus, which the virus uses to infect the liver cells.
The study by the scientists at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), focuses on a protein- known as E2 envelope glycoprotein and reveals unexpected structural features of this protein and should greatly speed efforts to make an effective hepatitis C vaccine.
Any successful hepatitis C vaccine is likely to target the E2 protein. Scientists already have isolated rare antibodies from patients that can bind E2 in ways that neutralize a broad range of viral strains.
The study is published in the journal Science.