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Viruses 2018, 10(11), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110645

HCV-Specific T Cell Responses During and After Chronic HCV Infection

Department of Medicine II, Medical Center—University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
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Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 17 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cure of Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Hepatocellular Carcinoma)
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Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific T cell responses are closely linked to the clinical course of infection. While T cell responses in self-limiting infection are typically broad and multi-specific, they display several distinct features of functional impairment in the chronic phase. Moreover, HCV readily adapts to immune pressure by developing escape mutations within epitopes targeted by T cells. Much of our current knowledge on HCV-specific T cell responses has been gathered under the assumption that this might eventually pave the way for a therapeutic vaccine. However, with the development of highly efficient direct acting antivirals (DAAs), there is less interest in the development of a therapeutic vaccine for HCV and the scope of T cell research has shifted. Indeed, the possibility to rapidly eradicate an antigen that has persisted over years or decades, and has led to T cell exhaustion and dysfunction, provides the unique opportunity to study potential T cell recovery after antigen cessation in a human in vivo setting. Findings from such studies not only improve our basic understanding of T cell immunity but may also advance immunotherapeutic approaches in cancer or chronic hepatitis B and D infection. Moreover, in order to edge closer to the WHO goal of HCV elimination by 2030, a prophylactic vaccine is clearly required. Thus, in this review, we will summarize our current knowledge on HCV-specific T cell responses and also provide an outlook on the open questions that require answers in this field. View Full-Text
Keywords: viral hepatitis; hepatitis c; antiviral immunity; direct acting antivirals; T cells viral hepatitis; hepatitis c; antiviral immunity; direct acting antivirals; T cells
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Luxenburger, H.; Neumann-Haefelin, C.; Thimme, R.; Boettler, T. HCV-Specific T Cell Responses During and After Chronic HCV Infection. Viruses 2018, 10, 645.

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