The hepatitis B virus (HBV) was discovered by dr. Baruch Samuel Blumberg when he identified the ‘Australia antigen’ among an aboriginal in the 1960s. The ‘Australia antigen’ is nowadays known as the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). For his work dr. Blumberg was awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Despite the introduction of safe and effective vaccines in the eighties, HBV infection still constitutes a major burden of disease. Currently, about one third of the world’s population has evidence of past or current HBV infection and over 350 million people still being chronically infected.1 Approximately 45% of the infected population lives in high endemic areas (HBV prevalence over 8%) including Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Chronic HBV infection remains one of the most serious infectious diseases worldwide with 0.5-1.2 million deaths every year due to longterm sequelae of hepatitis B related chronic liver disease, such as liver cirrhosis, hepatic decompensation and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

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Keywords Hepatitis B, infectious diseases, virology, DNA
Promotor H.L.A. Janssen (Harry)
Publisher The work presented in this thesis was conducted at the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Financial support for printing this thesis was kindly given by: Zambon Nederland B.V.; Gilead Sciences Netherlands B.V.; Nederlandse vereniging voor Hepatologie; Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam; Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/1765/76114
Arends, P. (2014, September 24). Chronic Hepatitis B Infection: New insights in therapy and predictors of response. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/76114