Center for Human Genetics and Laboratory Diagnostics, Dr. Klein, Dr. Rost and Colleagues

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Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)

Dr. med. Hartmut Campe, Dr. med. Hanns-Georg Klein

Scientific Background

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is acquired through blood and sexual contact. In endemic areas the infection can be transmitted congenitally from mother to child. Early acquired HBV infection is usually chronic, whilst infection in adults either displays no symptoms or is acute. Long-term effects of chronic HBV infection are cirrhosis (loss of function of the liver due to connective tissue replacement of destroyed cells) and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Chronic HBV infection is currently treatable, but rarely curable. In addition to interferons, medication to inhibit reverse transcription is used.

Vaccination offers the best protection against HBV infection.

HBV infection is diagnosed through serology. The quantitative determination of HV-DNA (viral load) is used to monitor therapy.