Hepatitis B virus is a worldwide leading cause of acute and chronic liver disease including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Effective vaccines have been available since the early '80s and vaccination has proved highly successful in reducing the disease burden, the development of the carrier state and the HB-related morbidity and mortality in the countries where vaccination has been implemented. Neutralizing (protective) antibodies (anti-HBs) induced by vaccination are targeted largely towards the amino acid hydrophilic region, referred to as the common a determinant which is present on the outer protein coat or surface antigen (HBsAg), spanning amino acids 124-149. This provides protection against all HBV genotypes (from A to H) and is responsible for the broad immunity afforded by hepatitis B vaccination. Thus, alterations of residues within this region of the surface antigen may determine conformational changes that can allow replication of the mutated HBV in vaccinated people. An important mutation in the surface antigen region was identified in Italy some 25 years ago in infants born to HBsAg carrier mothers who developed breakthrough infections despite having received HBIG and vaccine at birth. This virus had a point mutation from guanosine to adenosine at nucleotide position 587, resulting in aa substitution from glycine (G) to arginine (R) at position 145 in the a determinant. Since the G145R substitution alters the projecting loop (aa 139-147) of the a determinant, the neutralizing antibodies induced by vaccination are no longer able to recognize the mutated epitope. Beside G145R, other S-gene mutations potentially able to evade neutralizing anti-HBs and infect vaccinated people have been described worldwide. In addition, the emergence of Pol mutants associated with resistance to treatment with nucleos(t)ide analogues can select viruses with crucial changes in the overlapping S-gene, potentially able to alter the S protein immunoreactivity. Thus such mutants have the potential to infect both naïve and immunized people, negatively affecting the efficacy of both the antiviral treatment and the vaccination programs. Despite concern, at present the overall impact of vaccine escapes mutants seems to be low and they do not pose a public health threat or a need to modify the established hepatitis B vaccination programs. The development of novel NAs with a high barrier to resistance is warranted.
|Titolo:||Hepatitis B vaccination: are escape mutant viruses a matter of concern?|
|Parole Chiave:||Drug resistant mutants; HBV; HBV escape mutants; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis B vaccination|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore MED/42 - Igiene Generale e Applicata|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.4161/hv.34306|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|