Development of a drug assay system with hepatitis C virus genome derived from a patient with acute hepatitis C
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We developed a new cell culture drug assay system (AH1R), in which genome-length hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA (AH1 strain of genotype 1b derived from a patient with acute hepatitis C) efficiently replicates. By comparing the AH1R system with the OR6 assay system that we developed previously (O strain of genotype 1b derived from an HCV-positive blood donor), we demonstrated that the anti-HCV profiles of reagents including interferon-γ and cyclosporine A significantly differed between these assay systems. Furthermore, we found unexpectedly that rolipram, an anti-inflammatory drug, showed anti-HCV activity in the AH1R assay but not in the OR6 assay, suggesting that the anti-HCV activity of rolipram differs depending on the HCV strain. Taken together, these results suggest that the AH1R assay system is useful for the objective evaluation of anti-HCV reagents and for the discovery of different classes of anti-HCV reagents.