1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Linkou Medical Center, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan; College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
2Academic Department of Gastroenterology, Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Laiko General Hospital, Athens, Greece.
3Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Electronic address: email@example.com.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major public health problem, with an estimated 296 million people chronically infected and 820 000 deaths worldwide in 2019. Diagnosis of HBV infection requires serological testing for HBsAg and for acute infection additional testing for IgM hepatitis B core antibody (IgM anti-HBc, for the window period when neither HBsAg nor anti-HBs is detected). Assessment of HBV replication status to guide treatment decisions involves testing for HBV DNA, whereas assessment of liver disease activity and staging is mainly based on aminotransferases, platelet count, and elastography. Universal infant immunisation, including birth dose vaccination is the most effective means to prevent chronic HBV infection. Two vaccines with improved immunogenicity have recently been approved for adults in the USA and EU, with availability expected to expand. Current therapies, pegylated interferon, and nucleos(t)ide analogues can prevent development of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, but do not eradicate the virus and rarely clear HBsAg. Treatment is recommended for patients with cirrhosis or with high HBV DNA levels and active or advanced liver disease. New antiviral and immunomodulatory therapies aiming to achieve functional cure (ie, clearance of HBsAg) are in clinical development. Improved vaccination coverage, increased screening, diagnosis and linkage to care, development of curative therapies, and removal of stigma are important in achieving WHO's goal of eliminating HBV infection by 2030.