Hepatitis D: How the virus made the jump from animals to humans

Pandemics past and present have been caused when pathogens – germs that cause disease—move between animals and humans, as SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) did when it made its way from bats to people. But not ...

Hepatitis D: The mystery of the virus' life cycle revealed

A team led by Professor Patrick Labonté at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) in Montreal, Canada, has identified the role of a key process in the replication cycle of the hepatitis D virus, an infection ...

Hepatitis B: Unusual virus discovered in shrews

The discovery of an unusual hepatitis B virus from shrews offers new opportunities of better understanding the chronic progression of the disease. International research teams were able to demonstrate that an important protein ...

Study identifies new virus in cat

Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers from the University of Sydney have found a previously undiscovered hepadnavirus in an immunocompromised cat, and subsequently in banked feline blood samples. The research team published ...

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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease caused by HBV hepatitis B virus which infects the liver of hominoidae, including humans, and causes an inflammation called hepatitis. Originally known as "serum hepatitis", the disease has caused epidemics in parts of Asia and Africa, and it is endemic in China. About a third of the world's population, more than 2 billion people, have been infected with the hepatitis B virus. This includes 350 million chronic carriers of the virus. Transmission of hepatitis B virus results from exposure to infectious blood or body fluids containing blood.

The acute illness causes liver inflammation, vomiting, jaundice and—rarely—death. Chronic hepatitis B may eventually cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer—a fatal disease with very poor response to current chemotherapy. The infection is preventable by vaccination.

Hepatitis B virus is an hepadnavirus—hepa from hepatotrophic and dna because it is a DNA virus—and it has a circular genome composed of partially double-stranded DNA. The viruses replicate through an RNA intermediate form by reverse transcription, and in this respect they are similar to retroviruses. Although replication takes place in the liver, the virus spreads to the blood where virus-specific proteins and their corresponding antibodies are found in infected people. Blood tests for these proteins and antibodies are used to diagnose the infection.

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