1Center for the Study of Innate Immunity to Hepatitis C Virus, Department of Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195, United States. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2Center for the Study of Innate Immunity to Hepatitis C Virus, Department of Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195, United States. Electronic address: email@example.com.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes 350,000 deaths and infects at least 3million people worldwide every year. Currently no vaccine has been developed. Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs with high efficacy for suppressing HCV infection have recently been introduced into the clinic. While DAAs initially required combination therapy with type-1 interferon (IFN) administration for full efficacy and to avoid viral resistance to treatment, new DAA combinations show promise as an IFN-free regimen. However, IFN-free DAA therapy is in its infancy, still to be proven and today is cost-prohibitive for the patient. A major goal in HCV therapy to remove or replace IFN with DAAs or an alternative therapeutic to render virologic response with continued virus sensitivity to DAAs, thus facilitating a cure for infection. Recent advances in our understanding of innate immune responses to HCV have identified new therapeutic targets to combat HCV infection. We discuss how the targeting of innate immune response factors can be harnessed with DAAs to produce new generations of DAA-based HCV therapeutics. This article forms part of a symposium in Antiviral Research on "Hepatitis C: next steps toward global eradication."