Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Hepatitis B Is It Curable

What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis B

Is there a cure for hepatitis?

Many people with hepatitis B dont have any symptoms. If you do get symptoms you may not notice them until two or three months after infection and they can last up to three months. There are two types of infection acute and chronic.

Acute symptoms include:

  • flu-like symptoms, including tiredness, fever and aches and pains
  • feeling and/or being sick
  • jaundice, meaning your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow
  • dark urine
  • pale faeces .

People who cant fight off acute infection after six months, such as babies, young children and people with a weakened immune system because of HIV, can go on to develop chronic hepatitis B. This is when people are at higher risk of liver failure, liver disease and cancer of the liver.

Impact Of Antiviral Treatment On Clinical Outcomes

Most, but not all, long-term follow-up studies and meta-analyses indicate that IFN and NA treatment decrease the risk of HCC and liver-related mortality. A landmark randomized controlled trial showed that the first-generation NA lamivudine decreased the risk of disease progression and HCC in patients with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis and high viremia. Several studies have shown that maintained viral suppression during NA therapy is associated with regression of fibrosis, reversal of cirrhosis, and reduction in rates of hepatic decompensation., The risk of HCC is also diminished, although not eliminated, making it the only major complication during NA treatment. The observed reduction in the incidence of HCC appears to be more evident in persons with cirrhosis and after several years of continued treatment.

Treatment For Chronic Hbv Infection

For chronic HBV infection, antiviral medications are available.

This is not a cure for chronic HBV. However, it can stop the virus from replicating and prevent its progression into advanced liver disease.

A person with a chronic HBV infection can develop cirrhosis or liver cancer rapidly and without warning. If a person does not have access to adequate treatment or facilities, liver cancer can be fatal within months of diagnosis.

People with a chronic HBV infection require ongoing medical evaluation and an ultrasound of the liver

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About The Hepatitis B Virus

The hepatitis B virus is a small DNA virus that belongs to the Hepadnaviridae family. Related viruses in this family are also found in woodchucks, ground squirrels, tree squirrels, Peking ducks, and herons.

Structure of the Hepatitis B Virus The hepatitis B virus contains an outer envelope and an inner core.

  • The outer envelope of the virus is composed of a surface protein called the hepatitis B surface antigen or “HBsAg”. The HBsAg can be detected by a simple blood test and a positive test result indicates a person is infected with the hepatitis B virus.
  • The inner core of the virus is a protein shell referred to as the hepatitis B core antigen or “HBcAg,” which contains the hepatitis B virus DNA and enzymes used in viral replication.

Life Cycle of the Hepatitis B Virus

The hepatitis B virus has a complex life cycle. The virus enters the host liver cell and is transported into the nucleus of the liver cell. Once inside the nucleus, the viral DNA is transformed into a covalently closed circular DNA , which serves as a template for viral replication . New HBV virus is packaged and leaves the liver cell, with the stable viral cccDNA remaining in the nucleus where it can integrate into the DNA of the host liver cell, as well as continue to create new hepatitis B virus. Although the life cycle is not completely understood, parts of this replicative process are error prone, which accounts for different genotypes or genetic codes of the hepatitis B virus.

Aiming For Functional Cure With Established And Novel Therapies For Chronic Hepatitis B

Can a Person be Cured of Hepatitis B?

Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA


Norah Terrault, M.D., M.P.H.

Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

1450 San Pablo Avenue

Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA


Norah Terrault, M.D., M.P.H.

Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

1450 San Pablo Avenue

Potential conflict of interest: Dr. Terrault consults and received grants from Gilead, Roche-Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, and consulting from EXIGO, ENYO, and Moderna. Dr. Janssen consults and received grants from Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Roche, and Vir. He consults for Aligos, Antios, Arbutus, Eiger, VBI Vaccines, and Viroclinics. He received grants from AbbVie.

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How Is Hepatitis B Treated

Your healthcare provider will treat you based on what type of hepatitis B you have, acute or chronic.

Acute hepatitis B infections

If you develop an acute form of the condition, you probably wont need medical treatment. Instead, your doctor will likely suggest that you get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and maintain a healthy diet to support your body as it fights off the infection.

Chronic hepatitis B infections

If you have chronic hepatitis B, you might be a candidate for drug therapy. Usually, drug therapy is used only if you have active liver disease. There are seven drugs that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat hepatitis B. Two are injectable forms of interferon, while the five other antivirals are tablets.

You will need to take these medications every day. They help by slowing the viruss ability to multiply in your system. This helps reduce swelling and liver damage. Youll need to be regularly monitored for early signs of liver damage and liver cancer. Your healthcare provider will want to see you once or twice a year.

Natural History Of Chronic Hbv Infection

Figure 1Immune tolerantimmune clearance/HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitisinactive carrierreactivation/HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis

Some patients spontaneously clear HBsAg, but this event is rare, occurring at a rate of 0.5%-1% per year. These patients remain positive for hepatitis B core antibody, and some may develop anti-HBs. The majority of patients who clear HBsAg have undetectable HBV DNA in serum, but HBV DNA persists in the serum in some and in the liver in all patients. These patients are considered to have occult HBV infection. While the risk of cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease is greatly diminished, the risk of HCC after HBsAg loss remains substantial, particularly if HBsAg loss occurred after the age of 50 or after development of cirrhosis.- Importantly, HBV can be reactivated upon immunosuppression, suggesting that eradication of HBV from the host is rarely achieved.

Identifying individuals at greatest risk for development of cirrhosis and HCC is an important goal in the management of chronic HBV infection. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of viral load in predicting risk of cirrhosis and HCC., However, many other host , viral , and environmental factors contribute to liver disease progression.

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Hbsag Clearance After Na Treatment

There are few large or conclusive studies on the clearance of HBsAg after NA treatment, and some of these studies are single-centre retrospective studies. Kim et al. reported a clearance rate of 1% or less in 110 CHB patients who were treated with ETV/LAM for approximately 1 year. A retrospective study by Yip et al. reported an HBsAg clearance rate of 2.1% after an average follow-up of 4.8 years in 20,263 CHB patients treated with ETV/TDF for longer than 6 months. Wong et al. retrospectively evaluated 1072 CHB patients on antiviral therapy for approximately 6 years and found an HBsAg clearance rate of 4.58%. This study found no significant difference in the clearance rate between HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative patients, but the rate in patients with cirrhosis was significantly lower than patients without cirrhosis . These results suggested that the clearance rate of non-cirrhosis patients was higher after NA treatment, which is not consistent with the results of patients who experienced spontaneous clearance. Compared to patients with normal baseline ALT, patients with higher ALT levels had significantly higher rates of achieving HBsAg clearance. In general, the clearance rate may increase with the extension of treatment in CHB patients, but the overall rate with currently available NA treatment is low. The HBsAg clearance rates were 1.45.1% after an average follow-up of 27 years after NA treatment .

What Should You Know About Pregnancy And Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B Cure

A pregnant woman who has hepatitis B can pass the infection to her baby at delivery. This is true for both vaginal and cesarean deliveries.

You should ask your healthcare provider to test you for hepatitis B when you find out you are pregnant. However, while it is important for you and your healthcare provider to know if you do have hepatitis B, the condition should not affect the way that your pregnancy progresses.

If you do test positive, your provider may suggest that you contact another healthcare provider, a liver doctor, who is skilled in managing people with hepatitis B infections. You may have a high viral load and may need treatment during the last 3 months of your pregnancy. A viral load is the term for how much of the infection you have inside of you.

You can prevent your infant from getting hepatitis B infection by making sure that your baby gets the hepatitis B vaccine in the hours after they are born along with the hepatitis B immunoglobulin. These two shots are given in two different locations on the baby. They are the first shots needed.

Depending on the type of vaccine used, two or three more doses must be given, usually when the baby is 1 month old and then 6 months old, with the last by the time the baby is 1 year old. It is critical that all newborns get the hepatitis B vaccination, but even more important if you have hepatitis B yourself.

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Chronic Hepatitis B Treatment

Both hepatitis B and hepatitis C have a chronic phase. Hepatitis C almost always progresses to a chronic infection hepatitis B usually does not become chronic in adults. However, most babies who contract the virus from their mothers will develop chronic hepatitis B. When hepatitis B infection becomes chronic, it is not curable. People with chronic hepatitis B typically need lifelong treatment.

The first step in getting the right treatment for chronic hepatitis B is seeing a liver specialistor hepatologist. Other doctors who treat hepatitis B include infectious disease doctors, gastroenterologists, and internists. Its important to see someone with expertise in hepatitis B. Frequent monitoring is necessary to follow your livers health and decide when it is time to treat. Treatment is generally most effective when there are signs of active .

Treatment For Suspected Exposure

Anyone who has had potential exposure to HBV can undergo a postexposure prophylaxis protocol.

This consists of HBV vaccination and hepatitis B immunoglobin . Healthcare workers give the prophylaxis after the exposure and before an acute infection develops.

This protocol will not cure an infection that has already developed. However, it decreases the rate of acute infection.

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Nucleocapsid Assembly And Pgrna Packaging

Nucleocapsid formation and packaging of the pgRNA are critical steps of the viral life cycle. Therefore, developing inhibitors or modulators of this process is an attractive therapeutic approach. The HBV core protein is involved in many aspects of the viral life cycle including transport of viral genome to the nucleus, uncoating to release relaxed circular DNA in the nucleus, packaging of polymerase protein and pgRNA, capsid assembly, modulation of reverse transcription, and interaction with envelope proteins for virus assembly. It may have additional functions including modulation of cccDNA chromatin and stability, nuclear export of viral RNAs, and modulation of innate immunity.

The HBV precore/core protein has recently emerged as a promising direct antiviral target. With the knowledge of the three-dimensional structure of the core protein, several classes of non-nucleoside small molecules called core protein assembly modulators have been developed, including phenylpropenamide and heteroaryldihydropyrimidine derivatives. These molecules can strengthen proteinâprotein interaction, inhibit pgRNA encapsidation, and block plus strand DNA synthesis., Results of the first dose-ranging phase 1b study of NVR3-778 showed a decline in serum HBV DNA, HBV RNA, and HBsAg, with more pronounced effect when combined with pegylated IFN.

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hbv Infection

Is Hepatitis B Curable? (Hepatitis B Virus, Symptoms ...

HBV can cause a wide range of symptoms, from a mild illness and general feeling of being unwell to more serious chronic liver disease that can lead to liver cancer.

Someone with hepatitis B may have symptoms similar to those caused by other viral infections, like the flu. The person might:

  • be extra tired
  • feel like throwing up or actually throw up
  • not feel like eating
  • have a mild fever

HBV also can cause darker than usual pee, jaundice , and belly pain.

People exposed to hepatitis B may start to have symptoms from 1 to 6 months later. Symptoms can last for weeks to months.

In some people, hepatitis B causes few or no symptoms. But even someone who doesn’t have any symptoms can still spread the disease to others.

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Emerging Hbv Curative Therapies

There are numerous new HBV drugs in the pipeline. There are two main therapeutic strategies in the approach to HBV cure: direct-acting antivirals targeting various stages of the HBV life cycle and immunomodulators that aim to improve host immune response . Here, we focus on novel agents in phase 2/3 trials with published data on human subjects, as these agents are further down the pipeline and have the potential to reach clinical care sooner .

FIG. 4

Is Hepatitis Testing Recommended For People With Hiv

Yes. Everyone living with HIV should be tested for HBV and HCV when they are first diagnosed with HIV and begin treatment. People living with HIV who have ongoing risk factors for getting hepatitis B or hepatitis C should be tested annually.

In addition, new HCV screening recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call for:

  • One-time screening for all adults 18 years and older
  • Screening of all pregnant women during every pregnancy
  • Testing for all persons with risk factors, with testing continued periodic testing those with ongoing risk.

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Is Svr Considered A Cure

The oral DAA treatments are capable of causing a sustained virologic response , which means that the hepatitis C virus is not detected in the blood 12 weeks or more after completing treatment. Your doctor will monitor your virologic response with blood tests. Most people are considered cured when the virus is no longer present after 12 weeks.

Two or more oral antiviral drugs are typically used together to help prevent resistance in patients treated for HCV. Sometimes these treatments still need to be used with older medications such as ribavirin if you have advanced liver disease. Your chances for a cure may be better if you do not have advanced liver disease and have never received HCV treatment before.

Once you reach an SVR, it is highly unlikely for the hepatitis C virus to be detected again unless you are reinfected. Studies have shown this type of relapse occurs in less than 1% of patients who complete treatment. Also, when the virus is cleared from your blood you can no longer transmit the virus to others. However, you should still take precautions to help prevent catching and spreading HCV.

Any liver damage you have won’t be reverse after you reach SVR, but further damage may be minimized with treatment.

What Is Involved In A Liver Transplant

Hepatitis B is curable permanently

A liver transplant is considered necessary when the liver is damaged and cannot function or in some cases of liver cancer. Your liver is very important. It is responsible for many functions related to making sure that your body stays healthy and is able to digest foods.

You may be eligible for a transplant if you have chronic hepatitis B infection or some of the diseases that may result from it, including liver cancer and cirrhosis. You will have to complete testing and be evaluated before being approved for a transplant. It is likely that you will be placed on a waiting list while an appropriate organ is found.

Donated livers come from two types of donors: living and deceased. Because the liver can regenerate, it is possible to use part of a liver for transplant. The remaining sections in both the donor and the receiver will grow into livers of adequate size.

People who get liver transplants must take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives. These drugs make you more susceptible to infection. However, liver transplants have become more successful over time and continue to improve.

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Hiv And Hbv Coinfection

About 2% of people with HIV in the United States are coinfected with HBV both infections have similar routes of transmission. People with HIV are at greater risk for complications and death from HBV infection. All people with HIV are recommended to be tested for HBV, and if susceptible, are further recommended to receive the hepatitis B vaccination or, if chronically infected, evaluated for treatment to prevent liver disease and liver cancer. For more information about HIV and HBV coinfection, visit HIV.govâs pages about hepatitis B and HIV coinfection.

How Long Does It Last

According to the World Health Organization , the complete vaccine series induces protective antibody levels in of the infants, children, and adolescents who receive it.

Immune memory induced by the HBV vaccine can last for in healthy people. That said, studies into the duration of the protection that the vaccine offers are ongoing.

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Which Drugs Can Cure Hepatitis C Virus

Several agents are available by prescription in the U.S. that can lead to a sustained virologic response , considered a cure for HCV.

Drug combination antivirals for HCV treatment, often taken as one daily dose, are now approved to ease treatment regimens and tend to be more tolerable.

The newer direct-acting antiviral agents medications to treat HCV include:

Learn more: Oral Hepatitis C Treatments: The Evolving Landscape

Hepatitis C virus is transmitted through contact with infected blood. It can lead to chronic liver disease like cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death. Symptoms of chronic HCV may not appear for 20 to 30 years after infection.

It is important to seek medical testing and treatment for hepatitis C so you can help prevent its spread and have adequate medical care, if needed. Fifteen to twenty percent of people may eliminate the HCV virus completely from their body within 6 months, but most people remain infected and develop chronic hepatitis C.

If you were born from 1945 through 1965, or are at increased risk for HCV infection for other reasons like sharing drug injection equipment, speak to your doctor about being tested for HCV.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends a one-time hepatitis C test for all adults 18 years of age and older and all pregnant women for each pregnancy. CDC continues to recommend people with risk factors, including people who inject drugs, be tested regularly.

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