13 July 2023

Deadly virus hides from the body's immune system. Now researchers have solved some of the mystery


For decades, it has been a mystery how the hepatitis C virus evades the human body's immune system. But now researchers from the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at University of Copenhagen and collaborators have found out how the virus does it.

Deadly virus hides from the body's immune system
Photo: Canva

Every year over 300,000 people die because of the hepatitis C virus. It is estimated that over 50 million people worldwide are infected with the virus, which can cause liver inflammation and in worst case liver cancer.

Hepatitis C virus was discovered in 1989 and is one of the most studied viruses on the planet. Yet, for decades it has been kind of a mystery how this virus manages to hide from the human immune system and spread in the body. But now Danish researchers are the first to solve some of this mystery.

"Our discovery of the virus's strategy is important, as it may pave the way for new ways of treating viral infections, and it is likely that other types of viruses use the same trick," says Associate Professor Jeppe Vinther from the Department of Biology, UCPH, who together with Associate Professor Troels Scheel and Professor Jens Bukh from the Copenhagen Hepatitis C Program (CO-HEP) at the Department of Immunology and Microbiology (ISIM) have been at the forefront of the research.

It is very exciting that research into the hepatitis C virus has resulted in a discovery that is so groundbreaking for the understanding of virus and RNA biology.

 Head of CO-HEP, Professor Jens Bukh.

The discovery has just been published in the esteemed Nature. You can read the full scientific paper here

To learn more about the study in Danish, click here for the press release from the University of Copenhagen


Associate Professor Troels Scheel, ISIM
+45 25 12 27 71

Professor Jens Bukh, ISIM
+45 23 41 89 69