Therapeutic Pipeline Updates in Hepatitis B Virus for 2024

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In this segment of our 6-part discussion on updates and unmet needs within the management of hepatitis B virus focuses on updates in the therapeutic pipeline.

In recognition of May 19 as World Hepatitis Testing Day and the month of May as Hepatitis Awareness Month, we are launching our latest HCPLive Special Report, which spotlights a conversation between subject matter experts on updates and unmet needs in the management of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in 2024.

Although not discussed with the same frequency and urgency as hepatitis C (HCV) within public health circles, HBV represents a significant impact to public health globally and within the US, where an estimated 2.4 million are chronically infected, because unlike with HCV, there is no cure for these chronically infected patients. However, like HCV, the ongoing opioid crisis in the US has contributed to ballooning rates of acute hepatitis B infection in recent years and only 25% of infected individuals receive a diagnosis, according to the Hepatitis B Foundation.

The fourth in our 6-part series, begins with moderator Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, asking Nancy Reau, MD, and Andrew Talal, MD about the future of HBV treatments. Reau highlights the effectiveness of existing antiviral therapies, emphasizing that while new treatments are desirable, current treatments are quite effective when used. Reau goes on to stress the importance of HBV vaccination as a preventative measure. Reau mentioned the exciting potential of novel therapies, such as gene editing, but expressed hesitancy around predicting which new approaches would be most successful.

Talal agreed with Reau on the effectiveness of current therapies and the importance of vaccination. He pointed out that the use of combination therapies and treatment duration are ongoing areas of investigation. Talal likened the future of HBV treatment to the multi-targeted approach used in HIV therapy, noting the development of entry inhibitors and treatments that boost the host immune response.

In this 6-part discussion, our group of experts tackles the following topics:

Panelists:

  • Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH (Moderator): President of the Hepatitis B Foundation.
  • Nancy Reau, MD: Richard B. Capps Chair of Hepatology, Associate Director of Solid Organ Transplantation, and Section Chief of Hepatology at Rush University Medical Center.
  • Andrew Talal, MD: Professor of Medicine and Founder/Director of the Center for Research and Clinical Care in Liver Disease at the State University of New York at Buffalo - School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
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