News of the WeekHEPATITIS C

New 'Replicon' Yields Viral Proteins

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Science  08 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5498, pp. 1870-1871
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5498.1870b

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Efforts to determine just how hepatitis C infection develops-and how to combat it with antiviral drugs-have been frustrated by the hepatitis C virus's (HCV's) stubborn refusal to grow in the laboratory. Now, a research team has partly overcome that problem: On page 1972 of this issue, the researchers report the creation of an improved viruslike "replicon" that produces HCV proteins efficiently in the lab. The innovation has piqued the interest of both industrial and academic scientists, who are racing to develop treatments.