1Infectious Diseases, University Hospital, Padua, Italy.
2Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Unit, Hospital San Paolo, Naples, Italy.
3Hepatobiliary Surgery and Liver Transplant Unit, University Hospital, Padua, Italy.
4Infectious Diseases, University L. Vanvitelli, Naples, Italy.
Hepatitis Delta virus (HDV) is responsible for the most aggressive form of chronic hepatitis, which may evolve towards cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and death within few years. During the last 30 years the only available therapy was interferon or peg-IFN, which was characterized by poor tolerability and modest results. The detailed knowledge of the HDV replication cycle and its interaction with HBV allowed the introduction of new drugs which are currently in phase II or III of experimentation. Basically, bulevirtide, to date the only one approved by EMA, inhibits the entry of the virus into the hepatocytes and hence its intrahepatic spread; lonafarnib inhibits the pharnesylation process of the L-HDAg, which is critical for the assembly of the HDV virion; the nucleic acid polymers (NAPs) mainly block the production/release of HBsAg. The available clinical trials with these compounds showed an excellent anti-viral activity against HDV.