Trinity breakthrough in fight against Hep C
A huge breakthrough in the fight against Hepatitis C has been made by scientists at Trinity College.
Researchers there have discovered the viral infection stuns the body's immune system and stops white blood cells from fighting back.
And now they are looking at ways of developing a drug that would be able to stop it.
Said lecturer Aideen Long: "What we have found, the hepatitis C virus is able to get in to the host and block their immune system from working.
"It does that by a protein on its coat that punches against the body's white blood cells and stops them making cytokines, which drive and regulate the immune system.
"What we have to do now is identify a way of stopping the virus hijacking this enzyme. If we can stop that we can reverse the effects the virus has and let the immune system do its work."
As many as 1,700 people in Ireland have become infected with the hepatitis C by contaminated blood and blood products.