Hepatitis-B virus: replication cycle, targets, and antiviral approaches.
An estimated 257 million people are chronic carriers of hepatitis-B virus (HBV) infection, which resulted in around 1 million deaths, mainly due to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Long-term nucleotide analog treatment of HBV infection is associated with favorable prognosis, no disease progression, and a reduction of HCC risk, but lifelong treatments are required. A better understanding of HBV replication cycle and the host immune response will likely improve the identification of new targets for drug development. Studies are ongoing to determine if it is possible to successfully combine direct-acting antivirals (DAA) with an immunomodulatory therapy to allow increased cure rates. This review will start with summarizing the HBV replication cycle, recall current treatments, and then discuss potential targets and antiviral approaches in development to optimistically reach the HBV cure.
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