Novel Therapies in HBV Infection

Giuseppe Foti, Vincenzo Scaglione, Carlo Torti

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7175/cmi.v13i1.1434

Abstract

Current treatments for chronic hepatitis B are able to provide a sustained suppression of the viral replication (i.e., persistent undetectability of HBV DNA). This leads to improvement of liver fibrosis and reduction of clinical complications. However, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) persists in most patients, probably justifying a still increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Indeed, obtaining a complete and sterilizing cure with elimination of the covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) or silencing its activity is still a holy grail. New molecules are under evaluation to suppress viral replication acting on multiple phases of the HBV cycle or improve specific immune response against HBV. Molecules acting on HBV cycle have already showed encouraging results, such as entry inhibitors, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), capsid assembly modulators (CAMs), nucleic acid polymers (NAPs). Also, promising results have been observed with immune-modulators, therapeutic vaccines, and other immune-based approaches. Among these, toll-like (TLR) or anti-programmed receptor agonists antibody 1 of the cell death protein (PD1) (e.g., nivolumab) are most promising. This paper describes newer drugs appearing on the horizon, including antiviral drugs targeting different steps of the HBV life cycle and therapeutic approaches based on immune-modulation.

Keywords

Antiviral Therapy; Hepatitis B Surface Antigen; Nucleos(t)ide Analogs; PEGylated Interferon; Covalently Closed Circular DNA; Immune-Modulatory Therapy

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