Chimeric hepatitis B virus (HBV)/hepatitis C virus (HCV) subviral envelope particles induce efficient anti-HCV antibody production in animals pre-immunized with HBV vaccine.

The development of an effective, affordable prophylactic vaccine against hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains a medical priority. The recently described chimeric HBV-HCV subviral envelope particles could potentially be used for this purpose, as they could be produced by industrial procedures adapted from those established for the hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine. We show here, in an animal model, that pre-existing immunity acquired through HBV vaccination does not influence the immunogenicity of the HCV E2 protein presented by these chimeric particles. Thus, these chimeric HBV-HCV subviral envelope particles could potentially be used as a booster in individuals previously vaccinated against HBV, to induce protective immunity to HCV.

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