HCV is a single‐stranded positive‐sense RNA virus that was first identified in 19891. HCV belongs to the Flaviviridae family and has six major genotypes. According to the estimation of the World Health Organization, approximately 170 million people, 3% of the world population, are HCV positive with 3 to 4 million de novo infections each year. Of the newly infected individuals only approx. 15‐40% will effectively clear the virus and those who fail to do so will develop a chronic and progressive infection. The prevalence is high in Egypt (>10%), Asia (5‐10%) and Southern Europe (1‐2.5%) and is low in the Netherlands (<1%). Chronic hepatitis C is a slowly progressive disease causing no or few symptoms in the initial phase, but 10 to 20% of the patients develop liver cirrhosis over a period of 10 to 30 years. Patients with liver cirrhosis have an annual risk of 1 to 5% to develop liver cancer, in particular hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Unfortunately, there are still no effective vaccines or antibodies available for the prevention of infection.

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Financial support for printing of this thesis was provided by: Nederlandse Vereniging voor Hepatologie, J.E. Jurriaanse Stichting, Astellas Pharma B.V., Novartis Pharma B.V., MSD B.V., Roche Nederland B.V.
H.L.A. Janssen (Harry) , H.W. Tilanus (Hugo)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Pan, Q. (2012, February 22). Novel Anti-viral Strategies for Hepatitis C. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/31625