Inserm, U748, Strasbourg, France; Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. Furthermore, HCV-induced liver disease is a major indication of liver transplantation. In the past years, direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) targeting HCV enzymes have been developed. DAAs increase the virologic response to anti-HCV therapy but may lead to selection of drug-resistant variants and treatment failure. To date, strategies to prevent HCV infection are still lacking and antiviral therapy in immunocompromised patients, patients with advanced liver disease and HIV/HCV-co-infection remains limited. Alternative or complementary approaches addressing the limitations of current antiviral therapies are to boost the host's innate immunity or interfere with host factors required for pathogenesis. Host-targeting agents (HTAs) provide an interesting perspective for novel antiviral strategies against viral hepatitis since they have (i) a high genetic barrier to resistance (ii) a pan-genotypic antiviral activity and (iii) complementary mechanisms of action to DAAs and might therefore act in a synergistic manner with current standard of care or DAAs in clinical development. This review highlights HTAs against HCV infection that have potential as novel antivirals, are in clinical development, or are already in clinical use.