About this Research Topic
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a leading cause of acute viral hepatitis worldwide. HEV is responsible for more than 50% of acute viral hepatitis cases in endemic countries. Approximately 2 billion individuals live in hepatitis E-endemic areas and, therefore, are at risk of infection. According to WHO, HEV causes about 20.1 million infections and 70,000 deaths every year.
In developing countries with poor sanitation, this disease is transmitted through contaminated water and is associated with large outbreaks, affecting hundreds or thousands of people. In developed countries, autochthonous cases of HEV have been increasingly recognized in the past several years, associated with the consumption of contaminated food, such as pork, wildlife meat or shellfish. Furthermore, other effective sources of transmission have been documented, suggesting a possibly much wider distribution of the virus. Despite the fact that this infectious disease usually takes a subclinical course, several extrahepatic manifestations have been reported in recent years, suggesting that the clinical magnitude of HEV may be underestimated. This significant increase in the knowledge of the epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical impact has pinpointed HEV as an emerging global health problem.
HEV has proved difficult to study in vitro, with reliable models only recently becoming available. Our understanding of the lifecycle of HEV is therefore incomplete. The natural history of HEV infection has been reproduced in Rhesus monkeys and macaques. However, an appropriate human cell line for HEV replication is yet to be found. The possibility of cultivating HEV in different cell lines is a requirement to better understand the biology of this virus. These systems have great importance because they constitute a source of antigens for the design of diagnostic systems, the biological characterization of different HEV strains as well as vaccine development.
This Research Topic in Frontiers in Microbiology is dedicated to the current knowledge of HEV and its future perspectives. We encourage the submission of original research papers reviews, new methods, protocols and perspectives on HEV, related to
- Life cycle
- Biology or molecular biology
- Immunology response
We believe that the Research Topic will give an updated insight into the vibrant field of HEV, and hope it will serve the purpose to inspire new research activities.
The Topic Editors would like to acknowledge Dr. Antonio Riveiro-Cruz and Dr. Beatriz Suay-García for their contribution in designing and organizing this editorial project.
Keywords: Hepatitis E Virus, Hepatitis E Infection, HEV, Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Diagnostics, Treatment, Vaccines
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.