Hepatitis B virus therapy: What's the future holding for us?

World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Nov 28;21(44):12558-75. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i44.12558.


Hepatitis B is one of the leading causes of liver cancer worldwide and unfortunately the number of people affected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is still on the rise. Although the HBV has been known to cause fatal illness since decades but the population effected by this lethal virus have still only a few options for its management. The major treatment strategies include interferons and nucleos(t)ide analogues. These agents have so far produced unsatisfactory results in terms of complete virus eradication. Interferons cannot be used for long term therapy because of their potential side effects. Prolong treatment with nucleos(t)ide analogues has also been reported to cause serious side effects besides the increasing resistance by the virus. The need for new innovative solutions for treatment of HBV has been realized by global research institutes and pharmaceutical industry. Present review focuses in detail on the new ideas that are being transformed into therapeutic tools for use as future therapies in HBV infection. Modern drug designing and screening methods have made the drug discovery process shorter and more reliable. HBV therapeutics will take a new turn in coming years owing to these intelligent drug designing and screening methods. Future therapy of HBV is aiming to include the use of vaccines (both prophylactic and therapeutic), immunomodulators such as antibodies, non-nucleoside antivirals such as RNAi and inhibitors of viral life cycle.

Keywords: Hepatitis B virus treatment; Hepatitis B virus vaccines; Immunomodulators; Non-nucleoside antivirals; Nucleoside analogues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Discovery / trends*
  • Hepatitis B / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis B / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Hepatitis B virus / drug effects*
  • Hepatitis B virus / immunology
  • Hepatitis B virus / pathogenicity
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / adverse effects
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / trends
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Immunologic Factors