Segment Description: Andrea L. Cox, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, discusses the implications of discovering that an experimental vaccine was not effective at preventing chronic hepatitis C virus.
Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):
Cox: Based on these findings, which again represent the first attempt to test a vaccine in people who are at risk for hepatitis C virus infection, we will need to do more to create an effective vaccine. One of the other potential issues in the generation of a hepatitis C virus vaccine is the extraordinary diversity of the virus.
It's well known that HIV is a very diverse virus globally, but HIV is about an order of magnitude less diverse than hepatitis C. Many of the challenges we see in an HIV vaccine are also present in the development of a hepatitis C vaccine.
One of the things we'd like to investigate with this vaccine is whether the problem was a lack of cross reactivity between the vaccine induced T-cell responses and the infecting viral strains. Which is something that we can determine. We can ideally use the results of this trial to impart additional information that will allow us to design a more effective vaccine going forward, and we hope to do that in the near future.
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