Researchers at several different US sites have found that less than one-third of 1% of patients infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) get rid of the virus per year, and overall, only 1.2% of patients finally get rid of it.
Men were twice as likely as women to clear the virus completely. People of Asian descent were less likely than other racial or ethnic groups to clear the virus. People over the age of 45 were almost twice as likely to get rid of the virus as younger patients.
HBV infection is extremely common, affecting approximately 250 million people worldwide, and it can lead to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
"We felt it was important to highlight just how rarely this highly desirable outcome called seroclearance occurs in what we believe to be the largest North American study of its kind," said Dr. Long Nguyen, lead author of the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics analysis. "
"This is further proof that our current standard therapies -- for which viral suppression rather than elimination are the goal -- may not suffice and that more research should be dedicated to therapeutics that help achieve viral cure," added senior author Dr. Mindie Nguyen