Hepatitis A and hepatitis C attack same protein to block immune defenses

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Hepatitis A and hepatitis C viruses

Despite the fact that they both infect the liver, the hepatitis A and hepatitis C viruses actually have very little in common. The two are far apart genetically, are transmitted differently, and produce very different diseases. Hepatitis A spreads through the consumption of fecal particles from an infected person (in pollution-contaminated food or water, for example), but hepatitis C is generally transmitted only by direct contact with infected blood. Hepatitis A produces fever, nausea and abdominal pain that can last for weeks, but rarely lead to death; hepatitis C, by contrast, often spends decades quietly damaging the liver, until a victim's only hope for survival is an organ transplant.

According to researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), though, these two otherwise unrelated liver viruses have one important thing in common: a trick for avoiding destruction by the immune system. Both dodge immune attacks by attacking the same protein

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