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Key hep C protein revealed

In a discovery that could put a vaccine for hepatitis C closer in sight, researchers have been able to characterize a key protein in the virus that aids infection in the liver.

The structure of the protein, known as E2 envelope glycoprotein, has up until now evaded scientists. But the new, detailed picture of the protein obtained by investigators at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, is an important development toward new, more effective therapies to combat hepatitis C. The findings appeared in the Nov. 29 issue of the journal Science.