BMC medicine 2017 03 1515(1) 53 doi 10.1186/s12916-017-0820-x
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a global public health issue. Although the disease cannot be cured effectively, disease management has been improved over the past decade. The introduction of potent nucleos(t)ide analogues (NAs) to suppress viral replication represented a giant leap in the control of this disease. It has been shown that tenofovir treatment, a potent NA, complements current immunoprophylaxis to diminish mother-to-infant transmission in pregnant women with a high viral load. For patients with chronic HBV infection, quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen is a useful tool to define inactive carriers and to guide antiviral therapy. Quantification of HBV mutants is also useful in predicting long-term outcomes more precisely than ever. The next challenge is how to achieve an HBV cure; although immunotherapy is a promising strategy, the current results from two clinical trials using therapeutic vaccines to induce HBV-specific immune response in patients with chronic HBV infection are disappointing. In the coming years, we are expecting to see a combination of therapeutic agents with various modes of action to complete the mission of HBV elimination.