New mouse viruses 'could help future hepatitis research'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

Scientists have discovered new mouse viruses that are closely related to hepatitis among humans and could therefore greatly help in the study of the disease in future.

A team led by Columbia University screened an archive of more than 400 frozen rodents - mostly comprising deer mice - for strains related to the human hepatitis C virus and human pegiviruses.

It found a number of potential candidates, with the two selected for complete genome sequencing shown to have genes, proteins and translational elements that closely mirror those found in their human equivalents.

Lead author Amit Kapoor of Columbia University said: "People have been waiting for decades to find something like this. It was shocking for me to see that the viruses are there and there are so many of them."

Hepatitis is a condition revolving around the inflammation of the liver, with the most common form being hepatitis C, which affects an estimated 255,000 patients in England.

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