Hepatitis C virus is an RNA encoded virus of the Flaviviridae family. In most cases, infections develop into a chronic carrier stage that can result in the onset of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma over a 20- to 30-year period. Because existing therapies are still of limited benefit and expensive, the development of a vaccine represents a priority to prevent further spreading of the infection. Immune correlates of protection remain poorly defined although increasing evidence suggests that both humoral and cellular immune responses are likely to contribute to protection and/or neutralization of the virus. Current DNA-based vaccines, while capable of generating the latter, appear limited in their capacity to induce a strong and long-lasting antibody response.

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