NIH releases strategic plan for research to cure hepatitis B
Earlier this month, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Hepatitis B Cure Strategic Plan Working Group released the Strategic Plan for Trans-NIH Research to Cure Hepatitis B.
Approximately 250 million people worldwide are affected by chronic hepatitis B infection. Despite an effective vaccine, millions of new infections still occur annually. Although lifelong treatments exist, adherence and monitoring present significant burdens for patients and the risk of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer remains higher for these individuals.
Building on recent evidence that a cure is possible for hepatitis B, the recently released plan outlines 3 priority research areas to advance the development of a hepatitis B cure and improve strategies for vaccination, screening, and treatment:
Strategic Priority 1: Understand Hepatitis B Biology—viral and host factors underlying HBV pathogenesis, immunity, reactivation, and transmission; impact of epidemiological factors, including coinfections with other hepatitis viruses, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other microorganisms
Strategic Priority 2: Develop Tools and Resources—biomarkers, cell culture and animal models, diagnostics, and clinical research capacity
Strategic Priority 3: Create Strategies to Cure and Prevent Hepatitis B—strategies to block replication of HBV and eliminate HBV-infected cells; strategies to promote screening, vaccination, and follow-up to care; and guidelines for implementing a future cure regimen
The goal of this strategic plan is to establish the guiding principles of future research investments. The plan aligns with ongoing NIH research and the US National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan.
Source: National Institue of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health. "NIH strategic plan details pathway to achieving Hepatitis B cure." Media Advisory. Released December 10, 2019. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-strategic-plan-details-pathway-achieving-hepatitis-b-cure