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Key Information About Hepatitis B

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Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver that can cause scarring of the organ, liver failure, and cancer. An estimated 257 million people are living with this infection. It is causing approximately 1 million deaths per year.

Infants less than one year old who get hepatitis B have an 80-90 per cent chance of developing a chronic infection, compared to 30-50 per cent of children under 6, and less than 5 per cent of adults.

Hepatitis B Virus

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Causes

Hepatitis B is caused by infection of the body with the hepatitis B virus, which is found in blood and bodily fluids.

Hepatitis B virus, abbreviated HBV, is a partially double-stranded DNA virus, a species of the genus Orthohepadnavirus and a member of the Hepadnaviridae family of viruses.

It is crucial to understand the multiple mechanisms of transmission in order to stay safe and clean from this virus.

HBV spreads easily via needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood.

Men or women who have multiple sex partners, especially if they don't use a condom, are at an increased risk of being infected with this virus.

Pregnant women with hepatitis B can pass the virus to their infants during birth.

Symptoms

Abdominal pain, nausea, fever, dark urine, loss of appetite, pain in the joints, vomiting, weakness, fatigue and jaundice are some known symptoms of hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B Virus gnaws at the liver and eventually leads to liver ‘Cirrhosis’, which means the scarring of the liver.

— Dr Dharmesh Kapoor, Hepatologist.

Treatment

Vaccination prevents new HBV infections, but for people who are chronic carriers of the virus, a cure has not yet been found.

Treatments for hepatitis B fall into two general categories:

Immune modulator medicines – These are interferon-type medicines which strengthen the immune system, thereby killing the virus. They are administered as a shot over six months to one year.

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Antiviral medicines – These are medicines that prevent the reproduction of HBV, which in turn reduces the inflammation and damage of the liver. These pills need to be taken daily for at least one year.

Long-term treatment may be needed. The decision to treat is based on clinical assessment, including the phase of infection and the presence and extent of liver damage.

T Cell Therapy

T cell therapy is a promising means to treat chronic hepatitis B virus infection and HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).

In a study conducted by researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich, transgenic mice (mice that have been genetically modified with certain human genes) were treated with CRV431, an inhibitor of the cyclophilin family of proteins.

These mice saw a reduction in HBV DNA between 13 percent and 91 percent, depending on the dose level, compared to the control group.

World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28 every year to raise national and international awareness about hepatitis, and to encourage actions by individuals, partners and the public to achieve global elimination goals by 2030.

Hepatitis B Virus Replication

 Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Prevention

Prevention of HBV infection by immunization is the best way to eliminate HBV-related diseases.

The hepatitis B vaccine stimulates your natural immune system to protect against the hepatitis B virus.

In babies, a combination of hepatitis B vaccination and immunoglobulin is the cornerstone of vertical prevention transmission for women who are positive for both hepatitis B surface and envelope antigens, as per an article published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology in March 2022.

Cover open sores, cuts or abrasions with waterproof dressings. Do not inject drugs. If you do inject drugs, stop and get into a treatment program.

A clinical-stage biotech company based in the Netherlands released positive results on June 12 2019 from the HBV vaccine, HBAI20, in Phase 2 “BE-Responder” trial.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R

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