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Chronic hepatitis C: Portrait of a silent epidemic and the etiologic agent

  • Ralf Bartenschlager
  • Gang Long
  • Darius Moradpour
Part of the Birkhäuser Advances in Infectious Diseases book series (BAID)

Abstract

Chronic liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an important medical problem. Although primary infection usually is mild, and often asymptomatic, in the vast majority of cases HCV establishes persistence that in the course of one or several decades may result in chronic liver diseases including liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Therapeutic options are limited and a vaccine to prevent HCV infection is not in sight. Diagnostic tests to detect HCV-containing blood products have become available after the first molecular cloning of the viral genome. This achievement also opened the field for studies of the viral replication cycle as well as the development of selective antiviral drugs. HCV is a hepatotropic flavivirus which has several remarkable properties. Among these are the potent inhibition of the induction phase of the innate antiviral response, the high genomic plasticity and the unusual strategy of virus particle assembly that occurs in close association with lipid droplets and the very-low-density lipoprotein production pathway. This chapter will briefly summarise some old and new aspects of chronic hepatitis C and of the pathogen responsible for this disease.

Keywords

Chronic Hepatitis Lipid Droplet Viral Replication Cycle Virus CORE Protein Alternate Read Frame 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralf Bartenschlager
    • 1
  • Gang Long
    • 1
  • Darius Moradpour
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Molecular VirologyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire VaudoisUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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