Globally, more than 58 million people are chronically infected with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) with 1.5 million new infections occurring each year. An effective vaccine for HCV is therefore a major unmet medical and public health need. Since HCV rapidly accumulates mutations, vaccines must elicit the production of broadly neutralising antibodies (bnAbs) in a reproducible fashion. Decades of research have generated a number of HCV vaccine candidates. Based on the available data and research through clinical development, a vaccine antigen based on the E1E2 glycoprotein complex appears to be the best choice, but robust induction of humoral and cellular responses leading to virus neutralisation has not yet been achieved. One issue that has arisen in developing an HCV vaccine (and many other vaccines as well) is the platform used for antigen delivery. The majority of viral vaccine trials have employed subunit vaccines. However, subunit vaccines often have limited immunogenicity, as seen for HCV, and thus multiple formats must be examined in order to elicit a robust anti-HCV immune response. Nanoparticle vaccines are gaining prominence in the field due to their ability to facilitate a controlled multivalent presentation and trafficking to lymph nodes, where they can interact with both arms of the immune system. This review discusses the potential for development of a nanoparticle-based HCV E1E2 vaccine, with an emphasis on the potential benefits of such an approach along with the major challenges facing the incorporation of E1E2 into nanoparticulate delivery systems and how those challenges can be addressed.
Keywords: HCV E1E2; nanoparticles; nanoparticulate delivery systems; vaccine.
© 2023 The Authors. Reviews in Medical Virology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.