Hepatitis B Virus: General Features

P. Karayiannis, H. C. Thomas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Hepatitis B virus is a member of the family Hepadnaviridae and is responsible for causing acute and chronic liver infections in humans. Current estimates of the total number of chronic carriers of the virus are put at 350 million worldwide. These individuals run the risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver and hepatocellular carcinoma in later life. Antiviral treatment with interferon or nucleos(t)ide analogs offers the only means of interrupting this process. This article reviews the current level of knowledge relating to this important human pathogen and deals in turn with the taxonomy of the virus, its structure and genome organization, life cycle and replication strategy, as well as current preventative approaches and therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Virology
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-5
ISBN (Electronic)9780123739353
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute infection
  • Chronic infection
  • DNA genome
  • Hepadnaviruses
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Interferon
  • Life cycle
  • Nucleos(t)ide analogs
  • Reverse transcription
  • Serological markers
  • Treatment
  • Vaccination


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