Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is currently acknowledged as a major clinical problem with the disease often being severe as well as prolonged and an inherent tendency towards chronicity and furthermore, it’s noted association with cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. No specific and satisfactory therapy for HBV infection is available to date. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections can result in a variety of clinical manifestations of the disease. The commonly encountered ones being inapparent (subclinical) infection, acute infection of varying severity or persistent infection in association with or without chronic disease. Persistent HBV infections have been found to occur at varying rates in different regions of the world with the highest noted in certain regions of Asia and Africa. The difference in incidence of persistent infections are attibutable to genetic factors and to age of occurrence of infection with the trend of infection in very early life and leading on to a chronic HBV carrier state in contrast to infection occurring later in life. In the industrialized world around 45% of all HBV infections are know to result in acute disease with a fatality rate of 1%. Development of chronic infections is noted in 5% and asymptomaticity in the remaining 50% of the cases (Junge and Deinhardt, 1985). Chronic infection can lead to progressive liver disease, cirrhosis and primary hepatocellular carcinoma in 25%–50% of the cases (Hoofnagle and Alter, 1984; Hollinger et al., 1991).
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