Inserm, U1110, Institut de Virologie, Strasbourg, France; Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.
Approximately 170 million individuals, representing 3% of the global population, are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Whereas strategies for antiviral therapies have markedly improved resulting in clinical licensing of direct-acting antivirals, the development of vaccines has been hampered by the high genetic variability of the virus as well as by the lack of suitable animal models for proof-of-concept studies. Nevertheless, there are several promising vaccine candidates in preclinical and clinical development. After a brief summary of the molecular virology and immunology relevant to vaccine development, this review explains the model systems used for preclinical vaccine development, and highlights examples for most recently developed HCV vaccine candidates.