Hepatitis C virus particles, illustration - stock illustration
Hepatitis C virus particles, illustration. The virus particles consist of a core of genetic material (RNA, ribonucleic acid) and an icosahedral protein shell, enclosed in a lipid envelope with embedded glycoproteins. Hepatitis viruses cause a liver inflammation called hepatitis. There are acute and chronic forms. Hepatitis C (HCV) is spread through blood or sexual contact. It can be treated by drugs if diagnosed early, but can cause fatal liver damage including inflammation and scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).