World Hepatitis Day 2020

27 July 2020
Svitlana Kondovych
Senior Researcher

Hepatitis is a liver inflammation caused typically by a viral infection. Five main hepatic viruses – denoted with letters A, B, C, D, and E – come from different viral families and vary in their action and manifestation. All hepatitis types can provoke acute disease [1], which usually either resolves on its own or develops into a chronic infection. Types B and C are most likely to entail chronic hepatitis with eventual deathly complications such as cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer.

 

In the continuous confrontation between humanity and hepatitis the scales are definitely tipped in our favor [2, 3]. Safe and effective vaccines exist to prevent hepatitis A, B, and D; the anti-HEV vaccine has been developed by Chinese researchers [4], yet at present, it is not widely approved. Acute hepatic infections usually require only symptomatic therapy, whereas chronic HBV [5, 6], HCV [7, 8, 9], and HDV [10] are subject to treatment with antiviral agents (Fig. 1). Medication strategies are constantly evolving, adopting the latter-day advances and annually showing better performance and higher success rates. However, the race is not over and the anti-hepatitis drug design remains a persistent challenge until viral hepatitis is fully cured.

Examples of anti-hepatitis drugs

Fig. 1. Examples of anti-hepatitis drugs

In particular, treatment and management of hepatovirus C have constituted an important chapter of hepatology for years. Rapid progress in this field brought about great success: by now, over 95 % of patients are able to recover from HCV thanks to innovative antiviral strategies [9]. However, along with these spectacular achievements, important questions remain to be resolved. Although the anti-HCV drugs exist and work, they are not available everywhere; both screening and treatment procedures need to become common routines instead of special clinical situations. Of course, the absence of an anti-HCV vaccine is another long-standing issue. Besides, the existing therapy does not cover all cases: some groups of patients with hepatitis do not respond to existing antiviral medicines, and those suffering simultaneously from other diseases might experience additional complications. Thus, the development of hepatitis-targeted antiviral regimens goes on, demanding novel ideas and research efforts.

 The menace is global: more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from chronic hepatitis and almost 1.5 million die each year. Despite all the advances in anti-hepatitis therapy, access to diagnostic and treatment tools remains low in many regions. To draw attention to this pressing issue and to urge all countries to contribute to the elimination of hepatitis, the World Health Organization marks World Hepatitis Day every year on July, 28th. Notably, recent breakthroughs in HCV treatment have led the WHO to acquire an ambitious goal of eradicating hepatitis C by 2030 , which sounds like an encouraging prospect.

For those interested in anti-hepatitis drug discovery options, Life Chemicals offers its Anti-hepatitis Screening Libraries, as well as the following screening libraries of compounds that are potential inhibitors of hepatitis-related targets:

 

References

  1. Ozaras, R., & Arends, J. E. (Eds.). (2019). Viral Hepatitis: Acute Hepatitis. Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-03535-8
  2. Thomas, D. L. (2019). Global Elimination of Chronic Hepatitis. New England Journal of Medicine, 380(21), 2041–2050. doi:10.1056/nejmra1810477
  3. Sagir A. (2020). Hepatitis Treatment in the Last 20 Years: A Short Review. Arch Gastroenterol Res. 1(1): 1-3.
  4. Li, S.-W., Zhao, Q., Wu, T., Chen, S., Zhang, J., & Xia, N.-S. (2015). The development of a recombinant hepatitis E vaccine HEV 239. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 11(4), 908–914. doi:10.1080/21645515.2015.1008870
  5. Tang, L. S. Y., Covert, E., Wilson, E., & Kottilil, S. (2018). Chronic Hepatitis B Infection. JAMA, 319(17), 1802. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.3795
  6. Wong, W. W. L., Pechivanoglou, P., Wong, J., Bielecki, J. M., Haines, A., et al. (2019). Antiviral treatment for treatment-naïve chronic hepatitis B: systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Systematic Reviews, 8(1). doi:10.1186/s13643-019-1126-1
  7. Zhang, J., Nguyen, D., & Hu, K. Q. (2016). Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection: A Review of Current Direct-Acting Antiviral Treatment Strategies. North American journal of medicine & science, 9(2), 47–54. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4897966/
  8. Burstow, N. J., Mohamed, Z., Gomaa I, A., Sonderup, M., Cook, N., et al. (2017). Hepatitis C treatment: where are we now? International Journal of General Medicine, Volume 10, 39–52. doi:10.2147/ijgm.s127689
  9. Ozaras, R., & Salmon-Ceron, D. (Eds.). (2019). Viral Hepatitis: Chronic Hepatitis C. Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-03757-4
  10. Mentha, N., Clément, S., Negro, F., & Alfaiate, D. (2019). A review on hepatitis D: from virology to new therapies. Journal of Advanced Research. doi:10.1016/j.jare.2019.03.009

 

27 July 2020, 19:12 Svitlana Kondovych Computational Chemistry

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