Vaccination campaign doubles HBV mutations

A universal infant vaccination campaign in China has led the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) to more than double its rate of "breakout" mutations. These mutations may enable the virus to elude the vaccine, necessitating new vaccination strategies. Researchers at the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, report their findings in an article published ahead of print in the Journal of Virology.

Until a universal vaccination program for infants was implemented in 1992, nearly ten percent of Chinese—children included—were infected with HBV. The has protected an estimated 80 million children, dramatically reducing the percentage of children under 5 who are infected, from nearly 10 percent in 1992 to less than one percent in 2005. But these gains are in danger of being eroded as the virus develops surface mutations.

Taking advantage of 1992 and 2005 survey, investigators found that the prevalence of HBV escape mutants in children rose from 6.5 percent in 1992, before the start of the universal vaccination program, to nearly 15 percent in 2005. Among the control group of adults unaffected by the universal vaccination campaign, the rate of break-out mutants was virtually unchanged.

Hepatitis B is an infectious illness of the liver which can cause vomiting, inflammation, jaundice, and, rarely, death. About a third of the world's population has been infected at some point in their lives. Transmission of hepatitis B virus results from exposure to infectious blood or bodily fluids containing blood. The infection is preventable by vaccination, which has been routinely used since the 1980s.

Researcher Tao Bian of Chapel Hill says that the vaccine remains quite effective, but that because escape mutants are likely to increase, public health officials need to track the rise of escape mutants, in order to know when it becomes time to consider new . Measures that might be taken include boosting doses, adjusting the timing of vaccinations, or improving the vaccine. A next generation HBV vaccine has been invented, containing a second antigen in addition to the ' surface antigen. That means that both antigens would have to develop breakout mutations in order to elude the .

More information: www.asm.org/images/Communicati… ps/2013/0913hepb.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Ebola death toll rises to 5,459: WHO

5 hours ago

The World Health Organization said Friday that 5,459 people had so far died of Ebola out of a total 15,351 cases of infection in eight countries since late December 2013.

Flu season off to a slow start ... for now

8 hours ago

(HealthDay)—This year's flu season is off to a slow but detectable start. And it appears to be a typical one that's likely to peak in January or February, a leading U.S. health official says.

Update on new treatments for liver diseases

9 hours ago

Cirrhosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are two serious liver conditions with limited pharmacological treatments. The December issues of AGA's journals—Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Gastro ...

Amateur photographers aid in remote skin sore trial

10 hours ago

Paediatric infectious disease specialists are bringing novel skin sore research methods to WA in the form of a protocol allowing non-professional photographers to capture high-quality images of skin sores ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.