, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 5-13

HBV genotypes: Epidemiology and implications regarding natural history

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Abstract

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a global health problem and eight different genotypes (A to H) have been identified. The epidemiology of HBV genotypes and their implications for the natural history of HBV infection have become increasingly recognized. Genotypes A and D are common in Europe, whereas genotypes B and C are prevalent in Asia. In Asian countries, genotype B is shown to be associated with spontaneous hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) seroconversion at a younger age, less active liver disease, slower progression to cirrhosis, and less frequent development of hepatocellular carcinoma than genotype C. In Western countries, genotype D is shown to have a lower positivity of HBeAg, less chance of sustained remission after seroconversion, and a less favorable prognosis than genotype A. Thus, clinical differences do exist among HBV genotypes, and further research is needed on the molecular mechanisms underlying the clinical phenotypes of different HBV genotypes.