A major new insight into how Hepatitis B virus works could pave the way for new drug treatments for the infection, which is the major cause of liver cancer worldwide.
The team at the Universities of York and Leeds identified an “assembly code” in the genetic material of Hepatitis B virus that allows it to create a protective casing in which it can produce new infectious virus particles.
They found that the signal, generated by ribonucleic acid (RNA), helps viral proteins to overcome an ‘engineering problem’, assembling them into in a particular geometric pattern.
Professor Reidun Twarock, mathematical biologist at the University of York’s Department of Mathematics and Biology, said: “It is a bit like the chain on a bicycle. If we don’t assemble the chain on the sprockets, it becomes tangled and won’t function. Once assembled correctly, it connects the pedals with the wheels allowing the component parts to work together.
“We see the same process happening between the Hepatitis B RNA signals and the viral proteins. The proteins are attracted by these signals, which then promote their assembly into a precise molecular machine that allows the virus to produce a DNA copy of its genetic material and hence become infectious.”
The virus is transmitted through blood and bodily fluids. It is thought that more than two billion people have been infected worldwide, and around 350 million people remain carriers of the infection, which can, over time, result in their deaths.
The virus occurs in Europe but is much more common in parts of Asia, especially China and Africa. There are more than one million infected people in the USA where treatments can include expensive drugs and even liver transplantation.
Professor Peter Stockley, a structural virologist from the University of Leeds Astbury Centre, said: “There is a vaccine for the virus, but once you have the condition there is no treatment, other than drugs that can reduce symptoms but not change the long-term outlook.
“We often compare the disease to HIV due to the way in which the virus is passed from person-to-person, but unlike HIV there are no effective drugs to improve quality of life outcomes. Now that we know how the virus assembles, we can interrupt the interactions with the RNA signals – a bit like when a twig catches the sprocket on a bike, knocking the chain off.”
The Latest on: Hepatitis B
- Chronic Kidney Disease Linked to Hepatitis B on December 17, 2018 at 3:08 am
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is associated with an increased risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a new study. The study included 299,913 adults free of CKD at baseline who underwen... […]
- County cuts cost of vaccine as Hepatitis B claims six lives on December 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm
Hepatitis B outbreak in Elgeyo Marakwet County has killed six people, including a medical practitioner, in the past one month. There are fears that the disease could claim more lives after the vaccine ... […]
- How I reversed my fatty liver, Hepatitis B easily and permanently in few days on December 15, 2018 at 2:19 am
This is the most efective and curative solution for those diagnosed with fatty liver disease and any type of Hepatitis… It has helped more than 5,694 Nigerans Did you know that the most common ... […]
- 'End of hepatitis B and C by 2030 seems a pipe dream in Pakistan' on December 14, 2018 at 4:00 pm
The World Health Organisation's of target eliminating hepatitis B and C by 2030 appears to be a pipe dream for Pakistan, where more than 10 million people infected with viral hepatitis are still undia... […]
- Hepatitis Case Spike In Illinois 'Concerning,' Affects Suburbs on December 14, 2018 at 8:43 am
Unlike hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A infection does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal, according to the World Health Organization, but it can cause debilitating symptoms and ... […]
- Genotype G Linked With Liver Fibrosis in Hepatitis B-HIV-Coinfection on December 14, 2018 at 6:14 am
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype G is associated with an increased progression of liver fibrosis in patients with comorbid HIV and HBV, according to study results recently published in the Journal of ... […]
- Elgeyo, Baringo and West Pokot counties issue hepatitis B alert on December 13, 2018 at 7:18 pm
West Pokot county is mapping out the affected areas in Chepareria, Kacheliba, Alale, Miskwony and Kodich ahead of a vaccination drive. Baringo's health department has started mapping all those who hav... […]
- Meth use causing hepatitis B outbreak in Winnipeg on December 11, 2018 at 9:16 am
Winnipeg’s meth crisis is fuelling a disease outbreak, according to documents obtained by the Manitoba NDP. “Population and Public Health has declared an outbreak of acute hepatitis B in the ... […]
- Hepatitis B Vaccines Market Will Generate New Growth Opportunities in the Upcoming Years | GSK, Merck, Sanofi on December 11, 2018 at 8:42 am
Stay up-to-date with Hepatitis B Vaccines market research offered by HTF MI. Check how key trends and emerging drivers are shaping this industry growth. HTF MI released a new market study on Global He... […]
- Global Hepatitis B Therapeutics Market 2018-2022| Strategic Collaboration Between the Pharmaceutical Companies to Boost Growth| Technavio on December 11, 2018 at 7:04 am
LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The global hepatitis B therapeutics market is expected to post a CAGR of over 2% during the period 2019-2023, according to the latest market research report by Technavio. A ke... […]
via Google News and Bing News