Recently, a new drug, SPC3649, was administered by IV to four HCV-infected chimpanzees over a period of twelve weeks.
Rather than targeting the actual virus, this drug targets a molecule that is found naturally in the liver. The hepatitis C virus uses this molecule to replicate and multiply. The SPC3649 drug attempts to inhibit the molecule to prevent replication of the virus.
In the chimpanzees, the hepatitis C viral load was dramatically reduced in those that received the highest dose. Additionally, the virus did not appear to develop any resistance to the SPC3649 drug.
Trials for SPC3649 in humans with healthy livers are currently in process. Trials for people with hepatitis C will likely start in 2010.