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Looming Hepatitis C Epidemic Sparks New Research

A virus unidentified until 1989 now threatens to outstrip HIV as a killer by threefold unless interventions emerge. Around the world, an epidemic is quietly building that has the potential to dwarf AIDS in the number of people affected. The culprit, hepatitis C virus (HCV), is not as consistently lethal as HIV but nevertheless can kill. Development of a broadly useful vaccine seems unlikely, and the only therapeutic agents currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recomb

Steve Bunk


A virus unidentified until 1989 now threatens to outstrip HIV as a killer by threefold unless interventions emerge.
Around the world, an epidemic is quietly building that has the potential to dwarf AIDS in the number of people affected. The culprit, hepatitis C virus (HCV), is not as consistently lethal as HIV but nevertheless can kill. Development of a broadly useful vaccine seems unlikely, and the only therapeutic agents currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recombinant interferons, which are ineffective in the majority of patients. However, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies involved in developing HIV drugs are turning their efforts toward creating similar new compounds for HCV treatment. This bodes well for the career prospects of scientists with skills in antiviral drug research.

Photo: Christian Handel

BETTER YET: Schering-Plough's Greg Reyes believes that increased information about HCV will lead to new and better drugs.
The Atlanta-based Centers...

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