1Liver Diseases Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Hepatitis D viral infection in humans is a disease that requires the establishment of hepatitis B, relying on hepatitis B surface Ag and host cellular machinery to replicate and propagate the infection. Since its discovery in 1977, substantial progress has been made to better understand the hepatitis D viral life cycle, pathogenesis and modes of transmission along with expanding on clinical knowledge related to prevention, diagnosis, monitoring and treatment. The availability of serologic diagnostic assays for hepatitis D infection has evolved over time with current widespread availability, improved detection and standardized reporting. With human migration, the epidemiology of hepatitis D infection has changed over time. Thus, the ability to use diagnostic assays remains essential to monitor the global impact of hepatitis D infection. Separately, while liver biopsy remains the gold standard for the staging of this rapidly progressive and severe form of chronic viral hepatitis, there is an unmet need for clinical monitoring of chronic hepatitis D infection for management of progressive disease. Thus, exploration of the utility of non-invasive fibrosis markers in hepatitis D is ongoing. In this review, we discuss the virology, the evolution of diagnostics and the development of non-invasive markers for the detection and monitoring of fibrosis in patients with hepatitis D infection.