Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have used a cell-based model of HCV infection to identify compounds on the market or in development for other indications that could be repurposed to treat HCV.1 But if repurposing the molecules is not feasible, the scaffolds of those compounds could serve as the basis of new HCV therapies.
Standard therapy for HCV infection includes a 48-week course of pegylated interferon-a (PEG-INF-a) and ribavirin for HCV genotype 1 or a 24-week course of the two drugs for genotypes 2 and 3. The regimen only works in 50%-60% of patients and causes a host of side effects.
Because of these shortcomings, Scripps researchers set about looking for new therapeutics that might be able to treat HCV. The group screened 446 compounds from a clinical collection at the NIH. The researchers used a human cell-based model of HCV infection that was developed at Scripps in 2005 and reproduces the virus' entire life cycle.2
The group found 33 compounds that had low micromolar to sub-micromolar activity against HCV. Of those, 26 are marketed, approved
or in clinical development to treat a range of indications outside