The Human Side of Viruses
Immusol's business model today is different than when it started up in 1994. It's still doing gene transfer--only now into human cell lines, to see whether putting in ribozymes changes the cells' functions in therapeutically useful ways. The method has helped Immusol uncover two novel human genes that the Hepatitis C virus uses to replicate. Blocking these genes could block viral replication; Immusol aspires to find small molecules to do that. By targeting the human side of viral infection, the company may avoid the problems of viral mutation, and the patent estate of Chiron, which discovered and patented the cDNA for the Hepatitis C virus.
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