April 29, 2002
HEPATITIS C IMMUNITY STUDIED
Some people who become infected with hepatitis C virus and clear the infection may develop immunity from the virus, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The study, which appears in the April 27, 2002, issue of The Lancet and reported by Reuters Health, suggests that an effective hepatitis C vaccine may be possible.
The research team, led by David L. Thomas, MD, of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Shruti Mehta, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, followed injection-drug users living in Baltimore, Md., over a two-year period. They found that 21 percent of the participants who were not previously infected with hepatitis C acquired the virus, compared with 12 percent of participants who were previously infected and cleared the hepatitis C virus.