Groundbreaking data presented today demonstrates, for the first time, in vitro infection and replication of swine hepatitis E virus (HEV) in human hepatocytes.1
This study also verifies that HEV is a zoonosis (infectious disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans), which has been suggested for a long time.
HEV is a major cause of epidemic and acute sporadic hepatitis in many developing countries. It is also endemic in many industrialized countries, including the United States, European countries and Japan.
Four major genotypes (genotypes 1-4) of HEV have been identified in mammalian species. Genotype 3 and 4 HEVs are believed to undergo zoonotic transmission, with a reservoir in pigs and, possibly, a range of other mammals.
1. Oshiro, Y. et al. In vitro infection and replication of hepatitis E virus in human hepatocytes. Abstract presented at The International Liver CongressTM 2011. http://www1.easl.eu/easl2011/program/Orals/416.htm
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