Virologists at Edinburgh University’s Centre for Infectious Diseases have developed an assay that allows the rapid identification of drugs to treat the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
The limited effectiveness of current therapies and the practical difficulties with administering a full course of treatment have spurred the development of new antiviral drugs for HCV. However, if the most selective drug isn’t used to treat an infection, mutations can cause the virus to develop drug resistance.
The Edinburgh team have created a system that allows the growth of all HCV strains in vitro, and the efficacy of protease inhibitor drugs to be assessed.
This technology has the potential to significantly aid the future rational development of mono- and combination therapies. In addition, it can be used to assess HCV drug resistance and to determine the most appropriate treatment regime for infected individuals.
The key benefits include the ability to grow replication competent chimeras of HCV in vitro; to isolate the virus from patients to determine viral resistance and determine appropriate treatment regimes; and to carry out rapid broad spectrum in vitro analysis of drug efficacy.
The assay is relevant to drug discovery, as a diagnostic phenotypic assay for drug selectivity and as a research tool.
A patent has been filed on this technology and Edinburgh University is seeking industrial partners to help commercialise this technology via a licensing and collaborative research agreement.
For more information, visit the project’s page at: http://www.university-technology.com/details/rapid-test-for-hepatitis-c-virus-drug-efficacy.