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      Neglected Non-Traditional Routes of Hepatitis B Virus Transmission

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          Medical Virology of Hepatitis B: how it began and where we are now

          Infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) may lead to acute or chronic hepatitis. HBV infections were previously much more frequent but there are still 240 million chronic HBV carriers today and ca. 620,000 die per year from the late sequelae liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatitis B was recognized as a disease in ancient times, but its etiologic agent was only recently identified. The first clue in unraveling this mystery was the discovery of an enigmatic serum protein named Australia antigen 50 years ago by Baruch Blumberg. Some years later this was recognized to be the HBV surface antigen (HBsAg). Detection of HBsAg allowed for the first time screening of inapparently infected blood donors for a dangerous pathogen. The need to diagnose clinically silent HBV infections was a strong driving force in the development of modern virus diagnostics. HBsAg was the first infection marker to be assayed with a highly sensitive radio immune assay. HBV itself was among the first viruses to be detected by assay of its DNA genome and IgM antibodies against the HBV core antigen were the first to be selectively detected by the anti-μ capture assay. The cloning and sequencing of the HBV genome in 1978 paved the way to understand the viral life cycle, and allowed development of efficient vaccines and drugs. Today’s hepatitis B vaccine was the first vaccine produced by gene technology. Among the problems that still remain today are the inability to achieve a complete cure of chronic HBV infections, the recognition of occult HBV infections, their potential reactivation and the incomplete protection against escape mutants and heterologous HBV genotypes by HBV vaccines.
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            Risk factors for acute hepatitis B and its progression to chronic hepatitis in Shanghai, China

            Background and aims: The major risk factors for acute hepatitis B (AHB) in China and the viral factors determining the progression from acute to chronic hepatitis B remain largely unknown. Methods: Epidemiological studies within a population-based surveillance for AHB in adults were performed in Shanghai, China, including 294 patients, 588 matched controls and 572 family members of the patients. Results: Invasive medical procedures, household contact with hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers, body care and beauty treatments, and lack of HBV vaccination were independently associated with AHB. Among those risks, pedicure in bath centres emerged. Sixty-eight of 128 patients with AHB were genotyped including 33 with HBV B2 and 35 with HBV C2. Twenty-five (8.50%) of the 294 patients, including 20 with HBV C2 and 5 with HBV B2 (p = 0.013), progressed to chronic infection. Multivariate analysis showed that HBV C2 was independently associated with chronicification of AHB. Patients with HBV B2 were younger and there was a higher proportion of women than those with HBV C2. The prevalence of HBV B2 was higher in the patients than in neighbourhood chronic carriers. The chronic carriers with HBV B2 showed higher viral loads, higher hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) seropositivity, and with higher proportion in men than those with HBV C2, implying that sexual contact plays a role in the transmission of HBV B2. Phylogenetic analysis showed that HBV C2 was frequently involved in transmissions within households. Conclusions: Despite lower viral load and HBeAg status in the chronic carriers, HBV C2 was more prone to causing chronic infection than was HBV B2.
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              Distribution and hepatocellular carcinoma-related viral properties of hepatitis B virus genotypes in Mainland China: a community-based study.

              Hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes, replication status, and mutations have been associated with the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Our aim was to study the distribution and HCC-related viral properties of HBV genotypes/subgenotypes in Mainland China. A multistage cluster probability sampling method was applied to select 81,775 participants between 1 and 59 years at 160 national disease surveillance points. We examined hepatitis B surface antigen, HBV genotypes and subgenotypes, hepatitis B e antigen, viral load, and mutations in the PreS and core promoter regions of HBV genome. HBV subgenotypes B2 (27.3%), C1 (10.7%), and C2 (58.0%) were predominant. Genotype D (D1, 80.8%) was frequent in the Uygur. We identified a new subgenotype, C9, mainly in Tibetans. Compositions of subgenotypes B2 and C1 and genotype mixture increased from the North to Central South, which was consistently associated with the increasing prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen. Hepatitis B e antigen positivity and viral loads were higher in the young with genotype B and declined more rapidly with increasing age than those with genotype C. In contrast to G1896A, PreS deletion, T31C, T1753V, and A1762T/G1764A were more frequent in subgenotype C2 than in subgenotype B2. A1762T/G1764A, T1753V, C1653T, and G1896A, except PreS deletion, consecutively increased with increasing age. HBV subgenotypes B2, C1, and C2 are endemic in Mainland China. HBV genotype C exhibits less replication activity in the young and harbors higher frequencies of the HCC-associated mutations than genotype B. These basic data could help evaluate the association of HBV variations with HCC.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Infectious Diseases and Translational Medicine
                Infect. Dis. Transl. Med.
                Infect. Dis. Transl. Med.
                International Biological and Medical Journals Publishing House Co., Limited (Room E16, 3/f, Yongda Commercial Building, No.97, Bonham Stand (Sheung Wan), HongKong )
                2411-2917
                20 November 2016
                20 November 2016
                : 2
                : 3
                : 120-121
                Affiliations
                From Department of Epidemiology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China
                From Department of Epidemiology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China
                From Department of Epidemiology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Dr. Guangwen Cao, Prof. Chair., Department of Epidemiology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China. Email: gcao@ 123456smmu.edu.cn ; Tel. & Fax: 86-21-81871060.
                Article
                10.11979/idtm.201603006
                e702b932-d4cd-4188-9ec0-9077b55f94ae

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, References: 17, Pages: 2
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                Medicine,Infectious disease & Microbiology
                Medicine, Infectious disease & Microbiology

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