Chronic hepatitis D: current state of the art and emerging treatment

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Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is a defective agent co-infectingapproximately 5% of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers.An estimated 15 to 20 million patients worldwide are infectedwith HDV. Co-Infection with HBV and HDV occurs either simul-taneously or as superinfection in individuals who already havechronic hepatitis B. Chronic hepatitis D is considered to bethe most severe and progressive liver diseases with a high riskof liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Pegylated interferon-alfa remains the only approved drug for treatmentof chronic hepatitis D. However, it is characterized by lowefficacy and high risk of adverse effects. New insights fromthe HDV life cycle have resulted in the development of novelpromising classes of drug (entry receptor inhibitors, farnesyltransferase inhibitors, and nucleic acid polymers) that are currently under clinical evaluation.

Key words

Hepatitis D virus, chronic hepatitis, treatment.