Plasma Hepatitis E Virus Kinetics in Solid Organ Transplant Patients Receiving Ribavirin

Viruses. 2019 Jul 9;11(7):630. doi: 10.3390/v11070630.


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection causes chronic hepatitis in solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients. Antiviral therapy consists of three months of ribavirin, although response rates are not optimal. We characterized plasma HEV kinetic patterns in 41 SOT patients during ribavirin therapy. After a median pharmacological delay of three (range: 0-21) days, plasma HEV declined from a median baseline level of 6.12 (3.53-7.45) log copies/mL in four viral kinetic patterns: (i) monophasic (n = 18), (ii) biphasic (n = 13), (iii) triphasic (n = 8), and (iv) flat-partial response (n = 2). The mean plasma HEV half-life was estimated to be 2.0 ± 0.96 days. Twenty-five patients (61%) had a sustained virological response (SVR) 24 weeks after completion of therapy. Viral kinetic patterns (i)-(iii) were not associated with baseline characteristics or outcome of therapy. A flat-partial response was associated with treatment failure. All patients with a log concentration decrease of plasma HEV at day seven of >15% from baseline achieved SVR. In conclusion, viral kinetic modeling of plasma HEV under ribavirin therapy showed, for the first time, four distinct kinetic profiles, a median pharmacologic delay of three days, and an estimated HEV half-life of two days. Viral kinetic patterns were not associated with response to therapy, with the exception of a flat-partial response.

Keywords: chronic infection; hepatitis E virus; ribavirin; viral kinetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis E / blood*
  • Hepatitis E / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis E / virology
  • Hepatitis E virus / drug effects
  • Hepatitis E virus / physiology
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Transplantation
  • Plasma
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use*
  • Sustained Virologic Response
  • Transplant Recipients*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Virus Replication / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • RNA, Viral
  • Ribavirin