Scientists from Trinity College Dublin have discovered how the highly infectious and sometimes deadly Hepatitis C virus (HCV) “ghosts” our immune system and remains undiagnosed in many people. They report their findings today [Wednesday June 5th] in the international FASEB journal.
HCV’s main route of transmission is via infected blood but over the past 40 years it has accidentally been given to many patients across the world via infected blood products. The virus replicates particularly well in the liver, and the damage it causes makes it a leading cause of liver disease worldwide.
Even though HCV can be deadly, initial infection is rarely accompanied by any obvious clinical symptoms for reasons that have – until now – remained unknown. As a result, it often goes undiagnosed for the first 6-12 months following infection.