PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Hepatitis C "Western blot" test. Bands on paper strips show the immuno-imprint of antibodies in human blood serum in response to hepatitis C virus. The grey bands are types of human proteins (antibodies) which have reacted to, and bound with proteins (antigens) found in the virus. The test confirms that this patient has contracted the hepatitis C virus. Researchers, however, are also using these protein types to analyse the structure of the virus. By 1994, the hepatitis C virus had not been seen under a microscope or cultured. By understanding the virus's protein structure, a vaccine against it can be developed.
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