Natural course and treatment of hepatitis D virus infection

J Formos Med Assoc. 2006 Nov;105(11):869-81. doi: 10.1016/S0929-6646(09)60172-8.


Hepatitis D virus (HDV) is a subviral satellite with hepatitis B virus (HBV) as its natural helper virus. After entry into hepatocytes, it utilizes host cellular enzymes to replicate by a double-rolling-circle mechanism. HDV is most often transmitted by contact with contaminated blood and body fluid, similar to HBV infection. Approximately 5% of the global HBV carriers are coinfected with HDV, leading to a total of 10-15 million HDV carriers worldwide. HDV infection can occur concurrently with HBV infection (coinfection) or in a patient with established HBV infection (superinfection). The pathogenesis of HDV remains controversial. A decline in the prevalence of both acute and chronic hepatitis D (CHD) has been observed worldwide. At present, therapy for chronic HDV infection is by the use of interferon-alpha. Compared to chronic hepatitis B or C, CHD treatment requires a higher dosage and a longer duration of treatment, and post-treatment relapses are common. In order to prevent the progression of CHD and its related morbidity and mortality, more effective treatments are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hepatitis D / diagnosis*
  • Hepatitis D / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis D / therapy*
  • Hepatitis D / transmission
  • Hepatitis Delta Virus / genetics
  • Humans