Method of Using RNA as an Inhibitor of HCV
The NIH estimates that four million Americans are infected with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 Americans die annually of HCV related complications. This figure is expected to triple in the next 10 to 20 years. FSU researchers have utilized siRNA HT-161 to effectively block HCV replication and infection in cell culture. The replication is inhibited by clearing human cells of a protein essential for HCV replication. HT-161 inhibits diverse HCV strains including the genotype 1a and 1b that are prevalent and resistant to interferon therapy.
- The method has been shown to prevent new infection and eliminates replicating HCV RNA from infected cells
- Can be utilized against a diverse selection of HCV
- HT-161 targets a cellular gene necessary for viral replication thereby significantly reducing the likelihood of viral escape and resistance due to mutation
- Current therapies, such as interferon (IFN), have significant adverse side effects and HCV strains develop resistance to IFN treatment
- Unlike other siRNAs, the treatment does not target the viral genome, which, when targeted, increases the risk of mutations conveying resistances to treatment