Lab in Hep C progress

The first clinical trial in humans of a new hepatitis C vaccine has shown promising results, Oxford University researchers have announced.

The results of the trial suggest it may be possible to develop a vaccine which will offer protection against hepatitis C for over a year, and could allow those with infections to be treated. The team of researchers, led by Professor Paul Klenerman and Dr Ellie Barnes of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, carried out the trial on 41 healthy adults for a year. Professor Klenerman said: “The immune responses we’ve seen are exciting and we are beginning the next stage of trials.” However, he also emphasised that: “While we are hopeful, it could be a long road to any vaccine that protects people against hepatitis C.”

There are currently thought to be around 250,000 people in England and Wales who are infected with hepatitis C. The disease leads to chronic liver damage, often requiring a transplant.