People who are cured of hepatitis C virus (HCV) through direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment may not achieve full recovery of their disrupted immune system.

Publishing their findings in Nature Communications, researchers studied long-term data on 40 individuals with HCV prior to, during and after they received successful DAA treatment. The scientists used various means to analyze the composition of the participants’ population of natural killer white blood cells, which are a component of the immune system.

The investigators found that chronic hep C infection reduced the diversity of natural killer cells and that many of these changes persisted long after individuals were cured of the virus. While the study authors are not certain of the long-term implications of this finding, they are currently researching whether those cured of HCV sustain a compromised ability to fight infections.

To read a press release about the study, click here.

To read the study, click here.