Author(s): Liaw YF, Chu CM
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Abstract Since the introduction of the hepatitis B vaccine and other preventive measures, the worldwide prevalence of hepatitis B infection has fallen. However, chronic infection remains a challenging global health problem, with more than 350 million people chronically infected and at risk of hepatic decompensation, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. An improved understanding of hepatitis B virology, immunology, and the natural course of chronic infection, has identified hepatitis B virus replication as the key driver of immune-mediated liver injury and disease progression. The approval of potent oral antiviral agents has revolutionised hepatitis B treatment since 1998. Conventional and pegylated interferon alfa and nucleoside and nucleotide analogues are widely authorised treatments, and monotherapy with these drugs greatly suppresses virus replication, reduces hepatitis activity, and halts disease progression. However, hepatitis B virus is rarely eliminated, and drug resistance is a major drawback during long term therapy. The development of new drugs and strategies is needed to improve treatment outcomes.
This article was published in Lancet
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals