New approaches to the treatment of chronic hepatitis B

Alexandra Alexopoulou, Larisa Vasilieva, Peter Karayiannis

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    The currently recommended treatment for chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection achieves only viral suppression whilst on therapy, but rarely hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) loss. The ultimate therapeutic endpoint is the combination of HBsAg loss, inhibition of new hepatocyte infection, elimination of the covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) pool, and restoration of immune function in order to achieve virus control. This review concentrates on new antiviral drugs that target different stages of the HBV life cycle (direct acting antivirals) and others that enhance both innate and adaptive immunity against HBV (immunotherapy). Drugs that block HBV hepatocyte entry, compounds that silence or deplete the cccDNA pool, others that affect core assembly, agents that degrade RNase-H, interfering RNA molecules, and nucleic acid polymers are likely interventions in the viral life cycle. In the immunotherapy category, molecules that activate the innate immune response such as Toll-like-receptors, Retinoic acid Inducible Gene-1 (RIG-1) and stimulator of interferon genes (STING) agonists or checkpoint inhibitors, and modulation of the adaptive immunity by therapeutic vaccines, vector-based vaccines, or adoptive transfer of genetically-engineered T cells aim towards the restoration of T cell function. Future therapeutic trends would likely be a combination of one or more of the aforementioned drugs that target the viral life cycle and at least one immunomodulator.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3187
    Pages (from-to)1-23
    Number of pages23
    JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


    • Capsid inhibitors
    • CccDNA modifiers
    • Chronic hepatitis B
    • Direct acting antivirals
    • DNA vaccines
    • Hepatitis B virus
    • Immunotherapy
    • SiRNA


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