Recent scientific advances, including the development of curative therapies for HCV and the establishment of global cure initiatives for HIV, have led to international calls seeking a cure for chronic infection with HBV.
Over 240 million people live with chronic HBV, resulting in up to 780,000 deaths annually due to hepatic fibrosis/cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Persons chronically infected with HBV who do not receive treatment have a lifelong risk of developing HCC, the third most common cause of disease globally.
Dr Peter Revill and colleagues briefly describe the rationale for work aimed at achieving HBV cure.
|It is critical to anticipate the associated ethical issues to best protect the rights of those who participate|
Along with scaled-up approaches to preventing and treating chronic HBV infection, the team report that having a safe and effective cure for HBV infection promises to minimize the global burden of HBV-related morbidity and mortality and reduce the economic and other burdens of lifelong treatment.
Nevertheless, as HBV cure research proceeds, it is critical to anticipate and address the associated ethical issues to best protect the rights, interests and welfare of those who participate in the research as well as those who are or will become chronically infected with HBV.
Dr Revill's team comments, "We delineate some of the key ethical issues that are especially salient for HBV cure research, including risks of interventions, outcome measures, monitoring and modelling, selection of study population, language and consent, and fairness."