Hep B Cure News Today
Has anyone been cured of chronic hepatitis B?
Great progress has been made in treating the virus, though more can be done – There is currently no cure for people living with chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Those unable to naturally fight off the virus may live with it for many years without experiencing any symptoms until the liver becomes damaged.
Because of this, people diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B virus infection need to be regularly tested and monitored to watch out for liver damage. Additionally, we recognise that people living with chronic hepatitis B virus infection may also endure significant psychological pain and social stigma. Although most transmission occurs from mother to child during birth, there are other routes of transmission which can cause people to view their condition as something shameful, potentially reducing their likelihood to seek care and their quality of life.
Current hepatitis B treatments work to suppress the activity of the virus, keeping it inactive with antiviral therapies. These treatments can help protect the liver but rarely clear the virus completely. This means many people with hepatitis B require treatment for the rest of their lives.
To get ahead of hepatitis B, scientists are looking at innovative ways to address both the viral infection and the resulting immune dysfunction which allows the virus to persist in the body long term. With hepatitis B virus infection, the virus both embeds its DNA into our liver cells and hijacks the cell’s own processes to produce proteins for the virus.
Current treatments seek to minimise the effects of the virus by focusing on the viral DNA replication process. Scientists are now looking to go one step further by switching the focus to the virus’ RNA. They have discovered that interfering with the RNA not only stops viral replication but also halts the production of viral proteins and allows for an opportunity to investigate whether this can stop hepatitis B in its tracks.
Do you get hepatitis B for life?
What is hepatitis B? – Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. Some people with hepatitis B are sick for only a few weeks (known as “acute” infection), but for others, the disease progresses to a serious, lifelong illness known as chronic hepatitis B.
Why is there no cure for hepatitis B?
How is it currently treated? – There is no cure for chronic hepatitis B virus. In most cases, treatment requires taking a pill every day for life to remain effective and to reduce the risk of liver cancer. Even then, it doesn’t eliminate the risk. Chronic hepatitis B hasn’t been cured so far in part because current therapies have failed to destroy the viral reservoir, where the virus hides in the cell.
- This is in contrast to hepatitis C virus, which has no such viral reservoir and can now be cured with as little as 12 weeks of treatment.
- Read more: In contrast to Australia’s success with hepatitis C, our response to hepatitis B is lagging Despite the huge human and economic toll of chronic hepatitis B, research to cure the disease remains underfunded.
There is a misconception that because there is a vaccine, hepatitis B is no longer a problem. The availability of effective cures for the unrelated hepatitis C virus has also led people to believe that “viral hepatitis” is no longer a problem. Experts estimate that liver cancer deaths will substantially increase in coming decades without a cure for hepatitis B, despite deaths from most cancers decreasing. Hepatitis B causes 40% of all liver cancer. Napocska/Shutterstock
Does hepatitis B go away forever?
What should I do after learning that I have hepatitis B? – If test results show that you are infected with the hepatitis B virus, you should talk to a doctor who is experienced in caring for people with hepatitis B. This can be an internist or family medicine practitioner, or it may be someone who specializes in treating people with infectious, digestive, or liver diseases.