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I keep hearing about a “Functional Cure” for chronic hepatitis B, what does this mean?

New drugs in the research pipeline show promise of what researchers call a “Functional Cure.” New drugs or a combination of drugs will result in the loss of the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), which means there is no detectable HBV DNA (complete virus) or surface antigen (HBsAg or viral proteins) in the blood. This can occur with or without development of surface antibodies against the hepatitis B virus (HBsAb+ or anti-HBs+). A “functional cure” does not eliminate the stable, replicative form of the DNA of the virus that hides and combines with the DNA of the liver cells (called cccDNA). However, it should maintain long term suppression of the virus and reduce the risk of liver cancer even when treatment is stopped. Most importantly, a “functional cure” means that the new drugs would be taken for a finite amount of time rather than many years. You can find more information about a functional cure for hepatitis B in this video.


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Page updated 12/27/2022