1 Section of Digestive Diseases Department of Internal Medicine Yale School of Medicine New Haven CT.
2 Section of Hepatology Rush University Medical Center Chicago IL.
The past decade has seen transformation in the strategies for identifying and managing viral hepatitis, most dramatically the transformation of hepatitis C virus from a mostly chronic affliction to a curable disease that is accessible to wide populations through direct-acting antiviral therapies. More recently, shifting of hepatitis C virus burden to younger patients driven by intravenous drug use has shaped screening recommendations. Future work focusing on effective screening, linkage to care, treatment initiation, and post-cure management will allow countries to work toward meeting goals of eliminating viral hepatitis as a major public health threat. Concurrently, hepatitis B virus has also seen advances in management using oral nucleos(t)ide therapies with high-resistance barriers. However, virologic cure remains elusive in the setting of viral genetic persistence within the hepatocyte nucleus, even with suppressive antiviral therapy. Future directions include a refined definition of "cure," new biomarkers, and development of therapies targeting multiple pathways in the viral pathogenic and replication pathway. Progress is additionally being made on the management of hepatitis D infection. This review summarizes the recent evolution in disease characteristics, associated affected population, and changes in our understanding of management for these infections. We also discuss future directions in the management of viral hepatitis, including discussion on issues related to management before and after antiviral therapy. Conclusion: We summarize recent advances in the identification and management of viral hepatitis, which hold the potential to markedly reduce disease burden and therefore associated liver-related complications. However further work is needed to adequately identify and manage these diseases