Viral Hepatitle Savaşım Derneği
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection may progress to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and end-stage liver failure with time. Interruption of this process can only be achieved through effective antiviral treatment. This approach has so far involved the use of immunomodulators such as pegylated interferon alpha (Peg-IFN?) for a finite period of up to a year and nucleos-(t)ide analogues (NUCs) for treatment over much longer periods of time. The latter act by suppressing HBV replication at the level of DNA synthesis by inhibiting the viral reverse transcriptase/DNA polymerase and causing premature termination of DNA synthesis. The ideal treatment end point is loss of HBsAg in both HBeAg+ve and HBeAg-ve patients following monotherapy. This, however, is only achievable in a minority of patients. Secondary outcomes are durable HBeAg loss and seroconversion to anti-HBe, which occur in about 18-30% of HBeAg+ve patients depending on the antiviral used, and sustained suppression of HBV-DNA accompanied by biochemical normalization and histological improvement in non-HBeAg+ve seroconverting and HBeAg-ve patients. There is therefore a need for additional direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) targeting different stages of the life cycle of the virus, as well as immunotherapeutic approaches. Such developments may pave the way for their use either alone or more likely in combination in the fight against chronic HBV infection. Such drugs or approaches, which are currently undergoing preclinical or clinical testing, are the subject of this review.