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The invention discloses a method of maintaining hepatitis C virus (HCV) growing indefinitely in cell culture. The method includes providing a culture of cells susceptible to infection by HCV; introducing to the cell culture an inoculum containing an infective dose of HCV; contacting the inoculated cell culture with a growth medium containing an excess of uridine and cytidine; and changing spent growth medium with fresh growth medium containing the excess of uridine and cytidine on a predetermined schedule.