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.
Professors Yun-Fan Liaw and Chia-Ming Chu reviewed Hepatitis B treatment.
There are more than 350 million people chronically infected and at risk of hepatic decompensation, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma.
The team report an improved understanding of Hepatitis B virology, immunology, and the natural course of chronic infection.
|Monotherapy with these drugs suppresses virus replication|
An improved understanding 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 revolutionized Hepatitis B treatment since 1998.
The team report that conventional and pegylated interferon alfa and nucleoside and nucleotide analogues are widely authorised treatments.
Monotherapy with these drugs greatly suppresses virus replication, reduces hepatitis activity, and halts disease progression.
However, Hepatitis B virus is rarely eliminated.
Professor Professor Liaw and colleague commented, “Drug resistance is a major drawback during long term therapy.”
“The development of new drugs and strategies is needed to improve treatment outcomes.”