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39. Are there new treatments on the horizon for treatment of chronic hepatitis B?

The other thing to be encouraged about, is that hepatitis B is actually a rich area of ongoing studies. These are abbreviations of drugs that are in various stages of study. Entecavir, that will be out by Bristol Myers Squibb will probably be on the market in about a year or a year and a half, it’s in the latest stages of study. They all have different characteristics. What encourages me is that some of my patients, when they have e-Negative chronic hepatitis B, we say we’re going to start adefovir and you’re going to have to take this for a long time, that creates an anxiety because there will be a certain amount of resistance. But I know that lamivudine is effective against the A181V mutation and I suspect that some of these agents will also be active against other mutations. So the bottom line is that we’re going to have a whole shelf-full of drugs over the next five years, and probably more use of interferon, so that there will be lots of treatment options as we go down the road.