A cell protection screen reveals potent inhibitors of multiple stages of the hepatitis C virus life cycle. Academic Article uri icon


  • The hepatitis C virus (HCV) life cycle involves multiple steps, but most current drug candidates target only viral replication. The inability to systematically discover inhibitors targeting multiple steps of the HCV life cycle has hampered antiviral development. We present a simple screen for HCV antivirals based on the alleviation of HCV-mediated cytopathic effect in an engineered cell line-n4mBid. This approach obviates the need for a secondary screen to avoid cytotoxic false-positive hits. Application of our screen to 1280 compounds, many in clinical trials or approved for therapeutic use, yielded >200 hits. Of the 55 leading hits, 47 inhibited one or more aspects of the HCV life cycle by >40%. Six compounds blocked HCV entry to levels similar to an antibody (JS-81) targeting the HCV entry receptor CD81. Seven hits inhibited HCV replication and/or infectious virus production by >100-fold, with one (quinidine) inhibiting infectious virus production by 450-fold relative to HCV replication levels. This approach is simple and inexpensive and should enable the rapid discovery of new classes of HCV life cycle inhibitors.

published proceedings

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

altmetric score

  • 9

author list (cited authors)

  • Chockalingam, K., Simeon, R. L., Rice, C. M., & Chen, Z.

citation count

  • 65

complete list of authors

  • Chockalingam, Karuppiah||Simeon, Rudo L||Rice, Charles M||Chen, Zhilei

publication date

  • February 2010