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Chronic Hepatitis B Mothers Pose Greater Risk Of Infection For Child: New Cure Soon?

Update Date: May 07, 2016 07:01 AM EDT
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A new study from the University of Southern California could push forward a successful cure for chronic Hepatitis b (HBV), especially that HBV mothers greatly risk their child of acquiring the same infection. According to Medical Daily, an estimated 350 million people are diagnosed with chronic HBV, most got it from their mother. Now, researchers from the University of Southern California may have made a breakthrough that could improve their lives: In a new study, they detail how they were able to successfully cure mice of chronic HBV in as little as a month.

Senior author Jing-hsiung James Ou, from the molecular microbiology and immunology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, revealed to the website that there are treatments, but patients have to take drugs every day.

Ou and his colleagues found that when HBV-infected mice were exposed to the e-Antigen, their immune system was suppressed; it didn't recognize the virus, allowing it to persist. In particular, the antigen turned hepatic macrophages, immune cells in the liver that work to eliminate foreign invaders and toxins, against themselves.

"The e-Antigen has been known for 40 years, but the function has not been clear until now," Ou made it clear.

"Now we know that this virus uses the antigen to educate offspring's immune system. That's why they become a chronic carrier," he added.

To truly eliminate HBV, information should be made available especially in areas with a higher level of infection such as sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. The government, policy makers, and the media should all be involved in the dissemination of information.

In countries like China, Senegal, and Thailand, the infection rates are especially high in infants, the World Health Organization reported. In the U.S., the Asian Liver Center Stanford has found that one in 10 Asian-Americans lives with HBV.

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