Despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines for more than 2 decades, worldwide there are approximately 350 million hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers. Our understanding of the natural history of chronic HBV infection has steadily evolved over the past few decades. Availability of sensitive HBV DNA assays and application of sophisticated immunologic techniques have led to the recognition that HBV replication persists throughout the course of chronic HBV infection, and host immune response plays a pivotal role in HBV-related liver disease and recovery. Knowledge that HBV replicates via reverse transcription of an RNA intermediate, a process similar to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication, has led to rapid development in HBV treatments, many of which were initially developed for treatment of HIV infection.
Wong SN, Lok ASF. Treatment of Hepatitis B: Who, When, and How? Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(1):9–12. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.1.9
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