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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

Impact factor: 3.698

ISSN Print: 1040-8401
ISSN Online: 2162-6472

Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.v30.i2.30
pages 131-148

Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus Infection With Interferon and Small Molecule Direct Antivirals: Viral Kinetics and Modeling

Libin Rong
Theoretical Biology and Biophysics, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico
Alan S. Perelson
Theoretical Biology and Biophysics, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico

ABSTRACT

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection remains a threat to global public health. Treatment with pegylated interferon (IFN) plus ribavirin leads to a sustained virologic response in about 50% of patients. New therapies using direct antiviral agents have the potential to cure patients unresponsive to IFN-based therapies. Mathematical modeling has played an important role in studying HCV kinetics. Using models, one can evaluate the effectiveness of new treatment agents, estimate important parameters that govern virus-host interactions, explore possible mechanisms of drug action against HCV, investigate the development of drug resistance, and study quasispecies dynamics during therapy. Here we review our current knowledge of HCV kinetics under IFN-based therapy and newly developed antiviral agents specifically targeted to attack HCV, and show how mathematical models have helped to improve our understanding of HCV infection and treatment.