Neutralizing Antibodies to Hepatitis C Virus in Perinatally Infected Children Followed Up Prospectively

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Little is known about the presence and role of neutralizing antibodies (NtAbs) in perinatal hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Using HCV pseudoparticles, NtAbs were studied longitudinally in 12 HCV-infected children with or without evidence of acute hepatitis during the first year of life. Broadly reactive NtAbs of maternal origin did not prevent vertical HCV transmission or progression to chronicity. NtAbs against homologous genotype or subtype appeared during the chronic phase and were more abundant and sustained in children with acute hepatitis. Cross-reactive NtAbs were present in both groups of children, but their appearance did not correlate with better control of viremia or HCV clearance.

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