Current status of anti-HBV chemotherapy

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In the past decade, significant progress has been achieved in the battle against hepatitis B virus. In addition to the immunomodulating agents such as interferon-α and thymosin, many novel antiviral agents have been discovered, among which nucleoside analogues are the main-stay. New-generation compounds such as 3TC and famciclovir have shown promise in the treatment of patients chronically infected by this virus, and are on the line for approval. However, viral rebound after cessation of therapy still remains a major problem. Additionally, the reports on the drug resistance to these antiviral agents suggest that combination therapy will be the eventual strategy (Bartholomew et al., 1997; Tipples et al., 1996). Therefore, developments of safe and effective antiviral agents which do not cross-resist with currently available antiviral drugs are still much needed.

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