More hepatitis C research coming from Johnson City

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) -- Researchers in Johnson City have received a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for further study on hepatitis C.

Dr. Zhi Q. Yao and Dr. Jonathan P. Moorman began studying hepatitis C together in 2000. Most recently they have focused on cells called monocytes, which work in concert with T cells to fight disease. According to a news release from East Tennessee State University, monocytes look for harmful, intruding pathogens in the body and alert the normally dormant T cells to attack.

Moorman said breakthroughs in hepatitis C are needed because current, long-term treatments are effective in only about half the patients.

Yao is an associate professor of internal medicine at ETSU's College of Medicine. Moorman is chief of infectious diseases at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

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