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New studies examine elimination of hepatitis B and C
Date:4/1/2009

line approach for patients with chronic HBV, because these have the best chance of clearing hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg). The reduction of HBsAg serum levels leading to HBsAg clearance is the hallmark of a newly achieved immune control of the infection by mean of a significant reduction of virus infected hepatocytes.

The researchers retrospectively investigated the relationship between treatment regimens and changing levels of HbsAg in 386 patients in a multinational study.

"Significantly more patients treated with peginterferon alfa-2a (21 percent) or peginterferon alfa-2a plus lamivudine (17 percent) achieved HBsAg levels under 100 IU/mL at the end of treatment compared with lamivudine (1 percent)," they report.

"HBsAg clearance represents the best possible and closest to cure outcome of antiviral therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis B, but is realistic almost exclusively among patients receiving interferon-based regimens, which are recommended as a first-line therapeutic approach," they conclude. Interferon therapy switches the chronic active hepatitis B patient in the non-active HBV carrier who lose serum HBsAg during the years after the end of therapy. If the case occurs before the development of liver cirrhosis it endows the patient with the same life expectancy of the non-HBV infected subject.


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Contact: Sean Wagner
medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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