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The rate of mutations that allow the hepatitis B virus (HBV) to evade the vaccine used to prevent infection has almost doubled since 1992, when a nationwide infant vaccination campaign against HBV was begun in China, according to a new study (Bian T et al. J Virol. 2013;87:12196-12206).
The vaccine has been successful in protecting millions of children from HBV, but there is concern that use of the vaccine puts selective pressure on the virus to develop “breakout” mutations that could render the vaccine less effective.
Friedrich MJ. Hepatitis B Vaccination Spurs Virus Mutation Rate. JAMA. 2013;310(19):2030. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.282529