The expanding toolbox for hepatitis C virus research

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Hepatitis C virus is a major global health concern with 170 million people chronically infected. Despite the availability of potent antiviral agents targeting multiple HCV proteins and cure rates above 90%, global treatment availability, the likelihood of emerging drug-resistant viral variants and the unavailability of a protective vaccine underline the many unresolved questions remaining to be answered. Model systems allowing the dissection of individual HCV life cycle steps have previously been developed and span noninfectious and infectious means of assessing HCV entry and replication, multiple cellular systems enabling host/pathogen interaction studies as well as in vivo model systems for basic as well as translational HCV research. This review provides an overview of available systems and a comparative summary of assays and models.

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