Identification of Entry Point of Hepatitis C

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A molecule which is rooted in the membrane of human liver cells aiding in absorption of cholesterol also permits that entry of hepatitis C virus. This is the initial step in hepatitis C infection as per the researchers of the University of Illinois.  The cholesterol receptor presents a promising novel objective for the anti viral therapy. There is possibility that an approved drug might already exist as per the researchers whose results were reported online in novel publication of Nature Medicine. 4.1 million Americans were infected with the virus of Hepatitis C, which hit the liver leading to inflammation. Many individuals do not show symptoms at initial level and they will not know until the infection has damaged the liver.

Earlier studies proved that cholesterol was somewhere involved in HCV infection. The researchers then suspected a receptor called NPC1L1 that helps in maintaining cholesterol level might also be transporting HCV into the cell. The receptor is general in the gut of many species and is discovered on liver cells only in chimpanzees and humans. These are the only primates that can be infected with HCV. The researchers then proved that if you block access to NPC1L1 receptor, it will help in the prevention of virus entering and infecting the cells. They also say that receptor is involved in cholesterol metabolism, so it is well studied.  A drug which is uniquely and specifically helpful in targeting NPC1L1 already exists and is permitted for use in lowering the cholesterol level.

This drug is easily available and is accurately targeted to the receptor. Hence forth the researches have an ideal method if they desire testing NPC1L1’s contribution in the HCV infection. The recently discovered drugs are extremely toxic and cannot be tolerated by transplant individuals, who take immunosuppressant drugs. The drug, Ezetimibe is really safe and can be used for long term without affecting the health of individuals who take this drug in controlling the cholesterol level.  This drug helps in preventing the entry of virus into cells, thereby protecting the new liver from infection.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “you could get hepatitis C through contact with an infected person’s blood. You could get hepatitis C from

  • being born to a mother with hepatitis C
  • having sex with an infected person
  • being tattooed or pierced with unsterilized tools that were used on an infected person
  • getting an accidental needle stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
  • using an infected person’s razor or toothbrush
  • sharing drug needles with an infected person”





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