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How Far we are towards Eradication of HBV Infection

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Mihai Voiculescu

Department of Internal Medicine, Fundeni Clinical Institute, Carol Davila University of Medicine, Bucharest, Romania

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15403/jgld.2014.1121.244.hbv

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major health problem with an important biological and a significant socio-economic impact all over the world. There is a high pressure to come up with a new and more efficient strategy against HBV infection, especially after the recent success of HCV treatment. Preventing HBV infection through vaccine is currently the most efficient way to decrease HBV-related cirrhosis and liver cancer incidence, as well as the best way to suppress the HBV reservoir. The vaccine is safe and efficient in 80-95% of cases. One of its most important roles is to reduce materno-fetal transmission, by giving the first dose of vaccine in the first 24 hours after birth. Transmission of HBV infection early in life is still frequent, especially in countries with high endemicity.
Successful HBV clearance by the host is immune-mediated, with a complex combined innate and adaptive cellular and humoral immune response. Different factors, such as the quantity and the sequence of HBV epitope during processing by dendritic cells and presenting by different HLA molecules or the polymorphism of T cell receptors (TOL) are part of a complex network which influences the final response. A new potential therapeutic strategy is to restore T-cell antiviral function and to improve innate and adaptive immune response by immunotherapeutic manipulation.
It appears that HBV eradication is far from being completed in the next decades, and a new strategy against HBV infection must be considered.

Key words: hepatitis B virus – tolerance – interferon– NUC – liver cirrhosis – hepatocellular carcinoma – cccDNA.

Abbreviations: ALT: alanine aminotransferase; APC: antigen presenting cells; cccDNA: covalently closed circular DNA; HBIG: hepatitis B immunoglobulin; HbsAg: hepatitis B surface antigen; HBV: hepatitis B virus; HCC: hepatocellular carcinoma; CTL: cytotoxic T lymphocyte; IFN: interferon; NUC: nucleos(t)ide analogues; pg RNA: pre genomic RNA; TLR: toll-like receptors; TOL: T cell receptors.