Hepatitis B Virus Research in South Africa

Mohube B. Maepa*, Abdullah Ely, Anna Kramvis, Kristie Bloom, Kubendran Naidoo, Omphile E. Simani, Tongai G. Maponga, Patrick Arbuthnot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite being vaccine-preventable, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains the seventh leading cause of mortality in the world. In South Africa (SA), over 1.9 million people are chronically infected with HBV, and 70% of all Black chronic carriers are infected with HBV subgenotype A1. The virus remains a significant burden on public health in SA despite the introduction of an infant immunization program implemented in 1995 and the availability of effective treatment for chronic HBV infection. In addition, the high prevalence of HIV infection amplifies HBV replication, predisposes patients to chronicity, and complicates management of the infection. HBV research has made significant progress leading to better understanding of HBV epidemiology and management challenges in the SA context. This has led to recent revision of the national HBV infection management guidelines. Research on developing new vaccines and therapies is underway and progress has been made with designing potentially curative gene therapies against HBV. This review summarizes research carried out in SA on HBV molecular biology, epidemiology, treatment, and vaccination strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1939
JournalViruses
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • HBV
  • HBV/HIV co-infection
  • gene therapy
  • occult HBV infection
  • vaccination

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