Hepatitis B virus: significance of genotypes

Authors


Stephan Schaefer, Abteilung Virologie, Institut für Mikrobiologie, Universität Rostock, Schillingallee 70, D-18055 Rostock, Germany. E-mail: stephan.schaefer@med.uni-rostock.de

Abstract

Summary.  Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) genotypes have come of age. The concept that HBV genotypes may influence the course of disease and relevant biological differences has now been recognised. However, there are still major gaps in our knowledge. Most clinical data come from Asia and describe findings in patients infected with genotypes B and C. Large scale studies with genotypes A and D as found in Europe or A, D and E from Africa are urgently needed to broaden our understanding. Experimental data which explain in vivo findings in terms of differences in molecular biology in vitro are still in the beginning. The succeeding years will see many interesting studies which will aid our understanding of how variants and genotypes of HBV influence the spectrum of disease in people infected with HBV.

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