The clinical virology of hepatitis B

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Abstract

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major human health problem as approximately 8% of the world’s population are chronic carriers and there are over a million HBV-related deaths annually. Treatment of HBV is extremely difficult, as the unique viral replication strategy results in both a continual source of stable DNA molecules that are the template for viral replication and gene expression, and a pool of viral quasispecies from which different isolates may emerge as selection pressures alter. Although the use of antiviral therapies has improved outcomes significantly for many chronically infected individuals, the emergence of drug-resistant and immune/vaccine-escape viruses ensures there is a continuing need for the development of new and imaginative approaches to control and eventually eradicate HBV.

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