Hepatitis C: Current Status and Future Directions for Antiviral Therapy

  • Stanley M. Lemon
Conference paper


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) was first identified and shown to be the cause of almost all cases of non-B posttransfusion hepatitis in the late 1980s [1,2]. The virus, now classified within the genus Hepacivirus of the family Flaviviridae, is unique in its ability to establish persistent infection in the great majority of infected persons, many of whom develop evidence of chronic inflammatory liver disease [3]. These chronically infected persons are at risk for cirrhosis and, to a lesser extent, hepatocellular carcinoma [4,5]. Such serious complications of HCV infection usually develop over several decades, although in exceptional cases life-threatening liver disease can become evident within 10 years or less of infection. Despite this, most infected individuals appear to reach a relatively healthy equilibrium with this infection, and the majority of infected persons will probably die of causes completely unrelated to hepatitis C. Little is known of the reasons why certain infected patients do well, while others get into trouble with this infection. This lack of understanding extends to an absence of prognostic tests that are capable of predicting disease outcome in individual patients.


Chronic Hepatitis Internal Ribosome Entry Site Lassa Fever Virus Core Protein Quasispecies Variation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley M. Lemon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyThe University of Texas Medical Branch at GalvestonGalvestonUSA

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