Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of liver diseases, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Treatment for chronic hepatitis C is often out of financial reach for people in developing countries, and there is no vaccine against the virus. To prepare a human vaccine, investigators need an animal model that can help them screen and prioritize vaccine candidates. Dr. Balling's team, partnering with Dr. Di Santo's group at the Institut Pasteur in France, is working toward the development of mice with livers and immune systems that are similar to those of humans. These animals might be used to test vaccines for HCV, and potentially, other human pathogens.
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