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Approaches to hepatitis C treatment and cure using NS5A inhibitors

Authors Kohler J, Nettles J, Amblard F, Hurwitz S, Bassit L, Stanton R, Ehteshami M, Schinazi R

Received 11 September 2013

Accepted for publication 9 October 2013

Published 5 March 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 41—56

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IDR.S36247

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

James J Kohler,1,2 James H Nettles,1,2 Franck Amblard,1,2 Selwyn J Hurwitz,1,2 Leda Bassit,1,2 Richard A Stanton,1 Maryam Ehteshami,1 Raymond F Schinazi1,2

1Center for AIDS Research and Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA; 2Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Decatur, GA, USA

Abstract: Recent progress in the understanding of hepatitis C virus (HCV) biology and the availability of in vitro models to study its replication have facilitated the development of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) that target specific steps in the viral replication cycle. Currently, there are three major classes of DAA in clinical development: NS3/4A protease inhibitors, NS5B polymerase inhibitors, and NS5A directed inhibitors. Several compounds thought to bind directly with NS5A are now in various clinical trial phases, including the most advanced, daclatasvir (BMS-790052), ledipasvir (GS-5885), and ABT-267. While many NS5A-targeted compounds demonstrate picomolar potency, the exact mechanism(s) of their action is still unclear. In the clinic, NS5A HCV inhibitors show promise as important components in DAA regimens and have multifunctionality. In addition to inhibiting viral replication, they may synergize with other DAAs, possibly by modulating different viral proteins, to help suppress the emergence of resistant viruses. Structure-based models have identified target interaction domains and spatial interactions that explain drug resistance for mutations at specific positions (eg, residues 93 and 31) within NS5A and potential binding partners. This review provides, insights into the unique complexity of NS5A as a central platform for multiple viral/host protein interactions, and possible mechanism(s) for the NS5A inhibitors currently undergoing clinical trials that target this nonstructural viral protein.

Keywords: HCV replication complex, direct acting antivirals (DAAs), clinical trials

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