Presently the development of new therapies for hepatitis C virus (HCV) is rapidly moving forward. Almost every week new data appear on how direct acting antivirals (DAAs) succeed or fail in clinical trials. Despite the potency of many of the DAA combinations, the effect exerted by ribavirin (RBV) is still needed for an effective therapy in many new DAA combinations. Due to the strong antiviral effect of DAAs, it is likely that a major complementary therapeutic effect exerted by RBV is immune modulation resulting in an increased barrier to development of resistance. For HCV genotype 1a infections elimination of pegylated interferon, is not possible in many DAA combinations without jeopardizing the results. The host immune response is thus likely to play a key role even during DAA-based therapies. Hence, T cells may recognize and eliminate viral variants with resistance to the DAAs. We herein show several examples where this may be the case, supporting the rationale of including the host response also in the new therapeutic regimens. This review will describe the potential benefits of combining various DAAs with means to activate the specific immune response against HCV.
Keywords: DNA vaccine; Electroporation; HCV; T cell; Therapeutic vaccine.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.