The past, present and future of neutralizing antibodies for hepatitis C virus.
Ball JK., Tarr AW., McKeating JA.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. HCV establishes a chronic infection in the majority of cases. However, some individuals clear the virus, demonstrating a protective role for the host immune response. Although new all-oral drug combinations may soon replace traditional ribavirin-interferon therapy, the emerging drug cocktails will be expensive and associated with side-effects and resistance, making a global vaccine an urgent priority. T cells are widely accepted to play an essential role in clearing acute HCV infection, whereas the role antibodies play in resolution and disease pathogenesis is less well understood. Recent studies have provided an insight into viral neutralizing determinants and the protective role of antibodies during infection. This review provides a historical perspective of the role neutralizing antibodies play in HCV infection and discusses the therapeutic benefits of antibody-based therapies. This article forms part of a symposium in Antiviral Research on "Hepatitis C: next steps toward global eradication."