The Bhagirath Singh Early Career Award in Infection and Immunity 2018 Recipient

Dr. Sonya MacParland

The Immunological Impact of Direct Acting Antiviral Treatment for Early HCV Infection

Hepatitis C virus (HCV), is a virus that causes liver damage and can lead to the development of liver cancer. The introduction of potent anti-HCV drugs, known as direct acting antivirals (DAAs), has made HCV treatment highly successful leading to HCV clearance even in patients with previous poor responses to interferon-based therapies. However, the risk of HCV re-infection after successful treatment is still high. This proposal looks at the activity of potent DAA regimens in treating early HCV infection. This proposal asks the question if DAA treatment in early HCV infection rather than during chronic infection will have a favourable impact on immune cells specific for HCV, thereby boosting host antiviral responses. We will examine the impact of early DAA treatment on HCV-specific immune cell frequency, transcriptional profile and functionality and will examine whether immunological changes might have an impact on enhancing HCV clearance upon reinfection.

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