About this Research Topic
Viral hepatitis (a disease caused due to liver inflammation) is amongst leading human global health threats. A diverse group of viruses, spreading through different routes and having a wide range of reservoirs may cause hepatitis in humans, accounting for death and disability, as well as a huge economic loss. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported 1.34 million deaths due to viral hepatitis in 2015, mostly due to chronic liver disease and to hepatocellular carcinoma. Notably, viral hepatitis associated mortality outnumbers deaths caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and almost equals those linked to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). In contrast to HIV and Mtb cases, there is a continuous increase in the number of deaths due to viral hepatitis over time. Considering the disease burden, the global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis has called for eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health issue by 2030.
The majority of viral hepatitis cases are caused by five viruses that include: Hepatitis A (HAV), Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV), Hepatitis D (HDV) and Hepatitis E (HEV). HBV and HCV cause acute and chronic liver disease, accounting for approximately 96% of mortality, while HAV and HEV predominantly cause acute self-limiting infections. HEV also causes chronic infection and accounts for approximately 3.3% mortality due to viral hepatitis. A vaccine is available against HAV, HBV, and HEV (only in China), but no vaccine is available against HCV. However, a direct acting antiviral (Sofosbuvir) is successful in treating most HCV cases. Although vaccination has significantly reduced HBV infections in children, its efficacy appears to wane with time. A large population of adults shows chronic HBV and HCV infections, which warrants the development of an efficient antiviral strategy. Similarly, a rise in chronic HEV infections has been observed in organ transplant and immune-compromised patients, indicating the need for an efficient antiviral. There is an urgent need to understand the pathophysiology of these viruses in order to identify specific targets and develop inhibitors against them.
Given the critical consequences of HBV, HCV and HEV infection to human health, this article collection intends to showcase the latest research and developments on these viruses and invites the submission of reviews, mini-reviews, and/or original research reports in the following focused areas;
• Life cycle
• Immune response
• Vaccination strategies
• Therapeutic strategies
• Novel prevention and control strategies
• Development of diagnostic tools for detection
Keywords: Viral Hepatitis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis E
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