The Relationship betweeh HLA Antigen and the Outcomes of HCV Infection and Treatment
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Hepatitis C, which is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), is an emerging infectious disease that causes a persistent, insidious infection in 85% of patients despite clear evidence of immune recognition. The knowledge of host factors that influence the course of the disease is still limited. A key to combating the persistence of HCV may lie in understanding the role of host immunogenetic factors in determining the outcome of HCV infections. The human major histocompatibility complex, known as the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region, is one of the most extensively studied regions of the human genome. The high conservation and polymorphism of the HLA genes have lead researchers to hypothesize that the HLA genes themselves may influence the outcome of HCV infections. In this study, HLA class I and class II typing was performed on all enrolled hepatitis C patients to identify all allele types found in this region. The allele results will be used to verify HLA class I/class II alleles associated with the outcome of HCV infections, particularly spontaneous viral clearance that have been elucidated to in past articles and to discover new associations. Future studies may provide clues to the pathogenesis of HCV and provide a rational on which to base therapeutic strategies.