Of various Hepatitis C virus (HCV) strains, genotype 3 (gt3) is the common prevalent in India. For prevention and control of Gt3 HCV infection, it is important to expand the repertoire of HCV in vitro replication system to include. We are interested in applying novel, directed evolution strategies to explore HCV Gt3 in vitro replication system. Bioselection is based on similar strategy as that of natural selection and evolution process; however, results can be achieved more quickly when combined with proposed, appropriate selection methods. We propose to explore different directed evolution strategies to identify the strategy, or combination of strategies, most suitable for promoting and establishing a HCV Gt3 in vitro replication system. The study has the potential to bring fundamental change to the current cell culture models of HCV in vitro replication and may help in future in designing efficient HCV Gt3-specific anti-viral drugs.
Achievements: Our bioselection strategy has resulted in emergence of adapted viruses. We also successfully isolated gt3 and gt4 replicating viruses and completed whole genome sequencing of gt3 virus and currently we are constructing replicating culture adaptive viruses.