Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 35335630
Link to DOI – 10.3390/pathogens11030306
Pathogens 2022 Feb; 11(3):
Infections caused inadvertently during clinical intervention provide valuable insight into the spectrum of human responses to viruses. Delivery of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-contaminated blood products in the 70s (before HCV was identified) have dramatically increased our understanding of the natural history of HCV infection and the role that host immunity plays in the outcome to viral infection. In Ireland, HCV-contaminated anti-D immunoglobulin (Ig) preparations were administered to approximately 1700 pregnant Irish rhesus-negative women in 1977-1979. Though tragic in nature, this outbreak (alongside a smaller episode in 1993) has provided unique insight into the host factors that influence outcomes after HCV exposure and the subsequent development of disease in an otherwise healthy female population. Despite exposure to highly infectious batches of anti-D, almost 600 of the HCV-exposed women have never shown any evidence of infection (remaining negative for both viral RNA and anti-HCV antibodies). Detailed analysis of these individuals may shed light on innate immune pathways that effectively block HCV infection and potentially inform us more generally about the mechanisms that contribute to viral resistance in human populations.