Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a serious worldwide health risk and, to date, no effective treatments to prevent progression to chronic infection have been discovered. To combat the disease, Egyptian patients often use traditional medicines, for instance, camel milk, which contains lactoferrin. Currently, lactoferrin is one of the primary biopharmaceutical drug candidates against HCV infection. Camel lactoferrin (cLf) purification and biochemical and immunological characterization have shown its similarity to human and bovine lactoferrin, and crossreacts with the anti-human lactoferrin antibody. Incubation of human leukocytes with cLf then infected with HCV did not prevent the HCV entry into the cells, while the direct interaction between the HCV and cLf leads to a complete virus entry inhibition after seven days incubation. Our results suggest that the cLf may be one of the camel milk components having antiviral activity. In conclusion, we have demonstrated the potential for cLf to inhibit HCV entry into human leukocytes with more efficiency than human or bovine lactoferrin.
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