Developments In Hepatitis Delta Research

C. Cunha, N. Freitas, Sérgio Mota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is the smallest human pathogen known so far. Several characteristics of the virus RNA genome resemble that of plant viroids. Since the hepatitis B virus surface antigens are part of the HDV envelope and are necessary for productive infection, HDV may be considered a satellite virus of HBV. Coinfection of the two viruses or superinfection with HDV in HBV carriers increases the risk of fulminant hepatitis and development of liver cirrhosis. At present, there is no specific treatment for hepatitis D. However, vaccination against HBV confers protection against coinfection with HDV. Although the increased rate of vaccination against HBV in developed countries reduced the prevalence of HDV, it is still a threat and remains endemic in many regions of the world. Here, we overview the epidemiology and treatment of hepatitis delta and report recent advances in the research of HDV biology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Internet Journal of Tropical Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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