Prospects for a vaccine against the hepatitis C virus.
ABSTRACT The recent discovery of natural immunity to the hepatitis C virus and vaccine efficacy in the chimpanzee challenge model has allowed optimism about the development of at least a partly effective vaccine against this heterogeneous pathogen that is responsible for much of the chronic liver disease around the world. The immune systems of some infected individuals can spontaneously clear the virus, whereas other people need treatment with antivirals that work partly by stimulating humoral and cellular immune responses. Therefore, therapeutic vaccine strategies are also being pursued to improve treatment outcome.
- African journal of pharmacy and pharmacology 01/2012; 6(3). · 0.84 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A protective vaccine against hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains an unmet clinical need. HCV infects millions of people worldwide and is a leading cause of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer. Animal challenge experiments, immunogenetics studies, and assessment of host immunity during acute infection highlight the critical role that effective T cell immunity plays in viral control. In this first-in-man study, we have induced antiviral immunity with functional characteristics analogous to those associated with viral control in natural infection, and improved upon a vaccine based on adenoviral vectors alone. We assessed a heterologous prime-boost vaccination strategy based on a replicative defective simian adenoviral vector (ChAd3) and modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vector encoding the NS3, NS4, NS5A, and NS5B proteins of HCV genotype 1b. Analysis used single-cell mass cytometry and human leukocyte antigen class I peptide tetramer technology in healthy human volunteers. We show that HCV-specific T cells induced by ChAd3 are optimally boosted with MVA, and generate very high levels of both CD8(+) and CD4(+) HCV-specific T cells targeting multiple HCV antigens. Sustained memory and effector T cell populations are generated, and T cell memory evolved over time with improvement of quality (proliferation and polyfunctionality) after heterologous MVA boost. We have developed an HCV vaccine strategy, with durable, broad, sustained, and balanced T cell responses, characteristic of those associated with viral control, paving the way for the first efficacy studies of a prophylactic HCV vaccine.Science translational medicine 11/2014; 6(261):261ra153. · 14.41 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The present work aimed at 1) characterization of the E1 and E2 proteins (HCV-E) from an Egyptian hepatitis C virus genotype 4a (HCV-4a) isolate at the molecular and immunological level, 2) in silico identification of the B- and T-cell epitopes responsible for the immunogenicity of HCV-E, and 3) evaluation of the diagnostic potential of both the recombinant HCV-E and antibodies raised using mammalian expression constructs encoding the protein. The region encoding the E1 and E2 proteins was amplified by RT-PCR from RNA isolated from blood of a human infected with HCV-4 and cloned into the pSC-TA plasmid, and the sequence was verified and used to construct a neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree. The translated nucleotide sequence was used to predict the HCV-E secondary structure using the PREDICT-PROTEIN server and PSI-PRED. A 3D model of HCV-E was generated using the online tool 3Dpro. B- and T-cell epitopes were predicted using the online tools BCPred and Epijen v1.0, respectively. The HCV-E-encoding sequence was later subcloned into the mammalian expression plasmid pQE, and the constructs that were generated were used to immunize mice in the absence and presence of adjuvants of plant origin. The maximum sequence identity obtained by nucleotide and protein BLAST analysis with previously published HCV-E sequences was 85 and 77 %, respectively. The B-cell epitope CFTPSPVVV at position 203 and the T-cell epitope ALSTGLIHL at position 380 were found to be highly conserved among all HCV genotypes. Both ELISA and Western blotting experiments on crude and purified recombinant HCV envelope proteins using mouse antisera raised using the HCV-E mammalian expression construct confirmed the specific antigenicity of the expressed protein. The antibodies raised in mice using the HCV-E-encoding construct could efficiently capture circulating antigens in patients' sera with good sensitivity that correlated with liver enzyme levels (r = 0.4052, P < 0.0001 for ALT; r = -0.5439, P = 0.0019 for AST). Moreover, combining the HCV-E-encoding construct with extracts prepared from Echinacea purpurea and Nigella sativa prior to immunizing mice significantly (P < 0.05) increased both the humoral (14.9- to 20-fold increase in antibodies) and the cellular (CD4(+) and cytotoxic CD8(+)- T lymphocytes) responses compared to mice that received the DNA construct alone or PBS-treated mice. Both recombinant HCV-E protein preparations and antibodies raised using the HCV-E-encoding mammalian expression construct represent useful diagnostic tools that can report on active HCV infection. Also, the immunostimulatory effects induced by the two plant extracts used at the cellular and humoral level highlight the potential of natural products for inducing protection against HCV infection. The neutralizing capacity of the induced antibodies is a subject of future investigations. Furthermore, the predicted B- and T-cell epitopes may be useful for tailoring future diagnostics and candidate vaccines against various HCV genotypes.Archives of virology. 01/2015;