Special Issue "Viral Hepatitis Treatment"

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Viral Immunology, Vaccines, and Antivirals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2021) | Viewed by 19021

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Pietro Andreone
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy
Interests: chronic hepatitis; liver cirrhosis; autoimmune liver diseases; epatocellular carcinoma; liver transplantation; hepatic stem cells; metabolic liver diseases
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Stefano Brillanti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
DSMCN, Università degli Studi di Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
Interests: viral hepatitis; liver tumors; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; cirrhosis; liver transplantation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The last 30 years have represented a continuous evolution of therapies in the management of viral liver infections that have a chronic course, in particular hepatitis B and C.

At the present time, recovery for those suffering from hepatitis C is practically universal. For those suffering from hepatitis B, in addition to a more refined diagnostic evaluation, several drugs with different therapeutic targets are being studied with the aim of a definitive cure. Moreover, for delta hepatitis, we are finally on the road to being able to achieve the same goals as hepatitis B through the development of drugs that block viral replication with the hope that they can also be effective for a definitive recovery.

Finally, in the recent COVID-19 pandemic, infection occurs in the liver, which appears to be one of the target organs of the virus, and we still do not know the possible outcomes of this.

This Special Issue of the Viruses journal is dedicated to the diagnostic and therapeutic advancements of viral liver diseases with the aim of giving a complete update not only on the treatments currently available and future developments, but also on the still unmet needs in the management of special patient populations.

Prof. Dr. Pietro Andreone
Prof. Dr. Stefano Brillanti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • hepatitis A
  • hepatitis B
  • hepatitis C
  • hepatitis delta
  • hepatitis E
  • COVID-19 hepatitis
  • antiviral treatment
  • viral hepatitis diagnosis

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
Four Weeks Treatment with Glecaprevir/Pibrentasvir + Ribavirin—A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial
Viruses 2022, 14(3), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14030614 - 16 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1365
Abstract
Enhancing treatment uptake for hepatitis C to achieve the elimination goals set by the World Health Organization could be achieved by reducing the treatment duration. The aim of this study was to compare the sustained virological response at week 12 (SVR12) after four [...] Read more.
Enhancing treatment uptake for hepatitis C to achieve the elimination goals set by the World Health Organization could be achieved by reducing the treatment duration. The aim of this study was to compare the sustained virological response at week 12 (SVR12) after four weeks of glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (GLE/PIB) + ribavirin compared to eight weeks of GLE/PIB and to estimate predictors for SVR12 with four weeks of treatment through a multicenter open label randomized controlled trial. Patients were randomized 2:1 (4 weeks:8 weeks) and stratified by genotype 3 and were treatment naïve of all genotypes and without significant liver fibrosis. A total of 27 patients were analyzed for predictors for SVR12, including 15 from the first pilot phase of the study. In the ‘modified intention to treat’ group, 100% (7/7) achieved cure after eight weeks and for patients treated for four weeks the SVR12 was 58.3% (7/12). However, patients with a baseline viral load <2 mill IU/mL had 93% SVR12. The study closed prematurely due to the low number of included patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results suggest that viral load should be taken into account when considering trials of short course treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Hepatitis Treatment)
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Article
The Novel Finding of Dynamic Change in eGFR Up to One Year after End of Treatment in HCV-Infected Patients Receiving Sofosbuvir and Velpatasvir
Viruses 2022, 14(2), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14020362 - 10 Feb 2022
Viewed by 987
Abstract
Background: The results of long-term renal evolution in HCV-infected patients using sofosbuvir and velpatasvir (SOF/VEL), with or without ribavirin (RBV), are lacking. Aims: We evaluated the renal safety for HCV-infected patients receiving SOF/VEL. Methods: Between 1 June 2019 and 6 July 2020, we [...] Read more.
Background: The results of long-term renal evolution in HCV-infected patients using sofosbuvir and velpatasvir (SOF/VEL), with or without ribavirin (RBV), are lacking. Aims: We evaluated the renal safety for HCV-infected patients receiving SOF/VEL. Methods: Between 1 June 2019 and 6 July 2020, we included 594 HCV-infected patients receiving SOF/VEL +/− RBV for 12 weeks in Taiwan. Viral eradication rate (defined by sustained virological response at week 12 post-treatment; SVR12) and changes to renal function were considered. Results: SVR12 was achieved in 99.3% (590/594) upon per-protocol analysis. Patients saw improved hepatobiliary function and fibrosis after the start of SOF/VEL therapy. For renal function, those with baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) ≥ 60 (mL/min/1.73 m2) experienced transient on-treatment reduction in renal function that improved upon ending treatment, but recurrent eGFR degradation during one-year follow-up. The use of RBV (OR = 5.200, 95% CI: 1.983–13.634, p = 0.001) was a significant risk factor at SVR24, while diabetes mellitus (OR = 2.765, 95% CI: 1.104–6.922, p = 0.030) and the use of RBV (OR = 3.143, 95% CI: 1.047–9.435, p = 0.041) were identified as significant risk factors of worsening renal function at SVR48. SOF/VEL did not worsen renal function among those with stage 4–5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) who were not receiving dialysis. Conclusions: A trend of decline in eGFR at 1 year after SOF/VEL treatment was observed among diabetic patients with baseline eGFR ≥ 60 (mL/min/1.73 m2) and concomitant use of RBV. The close monitoring of renal function is warranted. Further study should be conducted in order to weigh the risks and benefit of RBV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Hepatitis Treatment)
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Article
In Vivo Modelling of Hepatitis B Virus Subgenotype A1 Replication Using Adeno-Associated Viral Vectors
Viruses 2021, 13(11), 2247; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13112247 - 09 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1375
Abstract
The paucity of animal models that simulate the replication of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is an impediment to advancing new anti-viral treatments. The work reported here employed recombinant adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) to model HBV subgenotype A1 and subgenotype D3 replication in vitro [...] Read more.
The paucity of animal models that simulate the replication of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is an impediment to advancing new anti-viral treatments. The work reported here employed recombinant adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) to model HBV subgenotype A1 and subgenotype D3 replication in vitro and in vivo. Infection with subgenotype A1 is endemic to parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and it is associated with a high risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Recombinant AAV serotype 2 (AAV2) and 8 (AAV8) vectors bearing greater-than-genome-length sequences of HBV DNA from subgenotype A1 and D3, were produced. Transduced liver-derived cultured cells produced HBV surface antigen and core antigen. Administration of AAV8 carrying HBV subgenotype A1 genome (AAV8-A1) to mice resulted in the sustained production of HBV replication markers over a six-month period, without elevated inflammatory cytokines, expression of interferon response genes or alanine transaminase activity. Markers of replication were generally higher in animals treated with subgenotype D3 genome-bearing AAVs than in those receiving the subgenotype A1-genome-bearing vectors. To validate the use of the AAV8-A1 murine model for anti-HBV drug development, the efficacy of anti-HBV artificial primary-microRNAs was assessed. Significant silencing of HBV markers was observed over a 6-month period after administering AAVs. These data indicate that AAVs conveniently and safely recapitulate the replication of different HBV subgenotypes, and the vectors may be used to assess antivirals’ potency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Hepatitis Treatment)
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Article
Global Utilization Trends of Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Time Series Analysis
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1314; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13071314 - 07 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2144
Abstract
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has placed a significant strain on hepatitis programs and interventions (screening, diagnosis, and treatment) at a critical moment in the context of hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination. We sought to quantify changes in Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) [...] Read more.
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has placed a significant strain on hepatitis programs and interventions (screening, diagnosis, and treatment) at a critical moment in the context of hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination. We sought to quantify changes in Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) utilization among different countries during the pandemic. We conducted a cross-sectional time series analysis between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2020, using the IQVIA MIDAS database, which contains DAA purchase data for 54 countries. We examined the percent change in DAA units dispensed (e.g., pills and capsules) from March to August 2019 to the same period of time in 2020 across the 54 countries. Interrupted time-series analysis was used to examine the impact of COVID-19 on monthly rates of DAA utilization across each of the major developed economies (G7 nations). Overall, 46 of 54 (85%) jurisdictions experienced a decline in DAA utilization during the pandemic, with an average of −43% (range: −1% in Finland to −93% in Brazil). All high HCV prevalence (HCV prevalence > 2%) countries in the database experienced a decline in utilization, average −49% (range: −17% in Kazakhstan to −90% in Egypt). Across the G7 nations, we also observed a decreased trend in DAA utilization during the early months of the pandemic, with significant declines (p < 0.01) for Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The global response to COVID-19 led to a large decrease in DAA utilization globally. Deliberate efforts to counteract the impact of COVID-19 on treatment delivery are needed to support the goal of HCV elimination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Hepatitis Treatment)
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Article
Successful Direct Acting Antiviral Therapy in Chronic Hepatitis C Normalizes IFNγ and IL2 Production in T Cells Together with TLR8 Expression and Functionality in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells
Viruses 2021, 13(4), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13040635 - 07 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1434
Abstract
Chronic hepatitis C infection (HCV) activates a systemic cell-mediated immune response characterized by the production of IFNγ and an innate immune response addressed by the activation of TLR signaling. We aimed to investigate whether HCV eradication by direct acting antivirals (DAA) leads to [...] Read more.
Chronic hepatitis C infection (HCV) activates a systemic cell-mediated immune response characterized by the production of IFNγ and an innate immune response addressed by the activation of TLR signaling. We aimed to investigate whether HCV eradication by direct acting antivirals (DAA) leads to a recovery in cell-mediated immune response and TLR expression and functionality. Blood samples were obtained in HCV infected patients before DAA treatment and at week +48 after the end of treatment. Results were compared to healthy controls. Cell surface expression of TLR8 was assessed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) by flow cytometry. Freshly isolated PBMCs were cultured with specific TLR8 agonists and intracellular production of cytokines was determined by flow-cytometry after ex vivo TLR8 activation with ssRNA 40. Production of IFNγ, IL2 and IL17 was assessed by flow cytometry in T cells after polyclonal activation. Included were 50 HCV-infected patients and 15 controls. TLR8 expression in PBMCs was significantly increased before treatment and recovered normal levels at week +48. Production of IL1b, IL6 and TNFα dependent on the activation of TLR8 in PBMCs was also increased in patients before DAA treatment, with a significant reduction at week +48. Combined expression of IFNγ and IL2 in CD4+ T cells in HCV-infected patients was significantly increased compared to controls and recovered normal levels at week +48. DAA-mediated clearance of HCV is associated with a decreased expression and activation of TLR8 in PBMCs until healthy control levels which is accompanied by a reduction in the Th1 response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Hepatitis Treatment)
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Review

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Review
Virological Treatment Monitoring for Chronic Hepatitis B
Viruses 2022, 14(7), 1376; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14071376 - 24 Jun 2022
Viewed by 958
Abstract
More than 250 million people worldwide are currently infected with hepatitis B, despite the effectiveness of vaccination and other preventive measures. In terms of treatment, new therapeutic approaches are rapidly developing, promising to achieve the elimination of infected cells and the complete cure [...] Read more.
More than 250 million people worldwide are currently infected with hepatitis B, despite the effectiveness of vaccination and other preventive measures. In terms of treatment, new therapeutic approaches are rapidly developing, promising to achieve the elimination of infected cells and the complete cure of infection. The on-treatment monitoring of these innovative antiviral treatments will require the implementation of new virological tools. Therefore, new biomarkers are being evaluated besides the traditional virological and serological assays in order to obtain information on different steps of the viral replication cycle and to monitor response to therapy more accurately. The purpose of this work is to describe both standard and innovative tools for chronic hepatitis B treatment monitoring, and to analyse their potential and feasibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Hepatitis Treatment)
Review
Management and Treatment of Patients with Chronic Hepatitis B: Towards Personalized Medicine
Viruses 2022, 14(4), 701; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14040701 - 28 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1413
Abstract
The currently available antiviral treatments (Peg-Interferon-α and Nucleos(t)ide Analogues, NA) for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) achieve a functional cure (serum HBsAg and HDV-DNA clearance) of HBV infection in a limited number of patients. Nevertheless, the continuous pharmacological suppression of viral replication by NA [...] Read more.
The currently available antiviral treatments (Peg-Interferon-α and Nucleos(t)ide Analogues, NA) for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) achieve a functional cure (serum HBsAg and HDV-DNA clearance) of HBV infection in a limited number of patients. Nevertheless, the continuous pharmacological suppression of viral replication by NA halts liver disease progression lowering the risk of HCC development and improving the survival. In the near future, to fully exploit the potential of old and new drugs for HBV treatment a personalized approach to the patients will be required according to an accurate definition of their virologic, immunologic and clinical profile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Hepatitis Treatment)
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Review
Hepatitis C: Standard of Treatment and What to Do for Global Elimination
Viruses 2022, 14(3), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14030505 - 28 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1811
Abstract
Hepatitis C virus infection has a substantial effect on morbidity and mortality worldwide because it is a cause of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver transplantation, and liver-related death. Direct acting antiviral drugs available today have high efficacy and excellent safety and can be used [...] Read more.
Hepatitis C virus infection has a substantial effect on morbidity and mortality worldwide because it is a cause of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver transplantation, and liver-related death. Direct acting antiviral drugs available today have high efficacy and excellent safety and can be used in all patients with clinically evident chronic liver disease and in groups that demonstrate risk behaviors to reduce the spread of infection. The Global Health Strategy of WHO to eliminate hepatitis infection by 2030 assumes “a 90% reduction in new cases of chronic hepatitis C, a 65% reduction in hepatitis C deaths, and treatment of 80% of eligible people with HCV infections”. In this review effective models and strategies for achieving the global elimination of HCV infection are analyzed. The screening strategies must be simple and equally effective in high-risk groups and in the general population; fast and effective models for appropriate diagnosis of liver disease are needed; strategies for direct acting antiviral drug selection must be cost-effective; linkage to care models in populations at risk and in marginalized social classes must be specifically designed and applied; strategies for obtaining an effective vaccine against HCV infection have yet to be developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Hepatitis Treatment)
Review
Treatments for HBV: A Glimpse into the Future
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1767; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091767 - 04 Sep 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1832
Abstract
The hepatitis B virus is responsible for most of the chronic liver disease and liver cancer worldwide. As actual therapeutic strategies have had little success in eradicating the virus from hepatocytes, and as lifelong treatment is often required, new drugs targeting the various [...] Read more.
The hepatitis B virus is responsible for most of the chronic liver disease and liver cancer worldwide. As actual therapeutic strategies have had little success in eradicating the virus from hepatocytes, and as lifelong treatment is often required, new drugs targeting the various phases of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) lifecycle are currently under investigation. In this review, we provide an overview of potential future treatments for HBV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Hepatitis Treatment)
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Review
Management and Treatment of Hepatitis C: Are There Still Unsolved Problems and Unique Populations?
Viruses 2021, 13(6), 1048; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13061048 - 01 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2225
Abstract
Direct-acting antivirals (DAA) have revolutionized the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, possibly leading to HCV elimination by 2030 as endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, some patients belonging to the so-called unique or special populations are [...] Read more.
Direct-acting antivirals (DAA) have revolutionized the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, possibly leading to HCV elimination by 2030 as endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, some patients belonging to the so-called unique or special populations are referred to as difficult-to-treat due to unreached sustained virological response, potential drug side effects or interactions or co-morbidities. Several years after the DAA introduction and on the basis of excellent findings in terms of efficacy and safety, some doubts arise around the exact meaning of the special population designation and whether this group of patients actually exists. The aim of this review is to discuss and analyze current evidence on the management and treatment of the so-called “unique populations”. We placed particular emphasis on patients with decompensated cirrhosis, chronic kidney disease (CKD), coinfections, rare genotypes, and previous treatment failure, in order to provide physicians with an updated overview of the actual problems and needs in the current scenario. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Hepatitis Treatment)
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Review
Hepatitis B Virus-Related Cryoglobulinemic Vasculitis: Review of the Literature and Long-Term Follow-Up Analysis of 18 Patients Treated with Nucleos(t)ide Analogues from the Italian Study Group of Cryoglobulinemia (GISC)
Viruses 2021, 13(6), 1032; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13061032 - 30 May 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2283
Abstract
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) chronic infection causes progressive liver damage, although about 20% of patients develop extrahepatic manifestations such as cryoglobulinemic vasculitis (CV). Clinical manifestations range from mild to moderate (purpura, asthenia, arthralgia) to severe (leg ulcers, peripheral neuropathy, glomerulonephritis, non-Hodgkin lymphoma). A [...] Read more.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) chronic infection causes progressive liver damage, although about 20% of patients develop extrahepatic manifestations such as cryoglobulinemic vasculitis (CV). Clinical manifestations range from mild to moderate (purpura, asthenia, arthralgia) to severe (leg ulcers, peripheral neuropathy, glomerulonephritis, non-Hodgkin lymphoma). A comprehensive review of therapeutic options for HBV-related CV is lacking. Nucleos(t)ide analogues (NA) suppress HBV replication in 90–100% of cases and induce clinical response in most patients with mild-to-moderate CV. Plasma exchange can be performed in patients with severe CV and should be considered in severe or life-threatening cases combined with high doses of corticosteroids and antiviral treatment. A cautious use of rituximab can be considered only in association with NA treatment in refractory cases. A review of the literature and an analysis of data collected by six centers of the Italian Group for the Study of Cryoglobulinemia on 18 HBV-CV nucleotide/nucleoside analogues (NAs)-treated patients were carried out. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Hepatitis Treatment)
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