A universal prophylactic vaccine against HCV

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) chronically infects approximately three per cent of the human population causing liver disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

The most cost-effective means of controlling infectious disease is through vaccination, however a prophylactic or therapeutic vaccine for HCV is not available.

Essential to the success of an HCV vaccine will be an ability to confer broad protection against seven circulating HCV genotypes (≥33 per cent nucleotide variation).

Our laboratory has developed a vaccine candidate that elicits high titres of broadly neutralising antibody, able to prevent replication of HCV in cell culture.

This activity is dependent on the production of a high molecular weight form of the vaccine that possesses a unique disulfide bonding arrangement.

Using our current method of expression only low yields of this protein are obtained, limiting its utility as a vaccine candidate.

The aims of this project:

  • Generate efficiently expressed forms of the vaccine that are structurally analogous to the high molecular weight form
  • Assess alternative formulations of the vaccine for their ability to elicit broadly neutralising antibodies.

Commonly used techniques include virus infection, western blotting, Blue-native PAGE, affinity purification, protein expression, ELISA, receptor binding assays, antibody neutralisation assays, RNA transcription and transfection, gene cloning and expression and DNA sequencing.

This project will involve handling of infectious organisms (HCV) and animal experimentation.

All procedures will be carried out in a PC2 level laboratory following appropriate standard operating procedures. Appropriate training in PC2 level procedures, virological techniques and animal handling will be provided.

Health Issue

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Professor Heidi E Drummer

Program Director, Disease Elimination; Co-Head, Drummer/Poumbourios Laboratory