Letter to the Editor
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2024. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Jan 28, 2024; 30(4): 418-420
Published online Jan 28, 2024. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v30.i4.418
Antiviral treatment standards for hepatitis B: An urgent need for expansion
Zi-Hong Bao, Zhi-Kun Dai, Hao-Xian Tang
Zi-Hong Bao, Zhi-Kun Dai, Department of Infectious Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical College, Shantou 515041, Guangdong Province, China
Hao-Xian Tang, Medical College, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou 515041, Guangdong Province, China
Hao-Xian Tang, Department of Cardiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical College, Shantou 515041, Guangdong Province, China
Co-first authors: Zi-Hong Bao and Zhi-Kun Dai.
Author contributions: Bao ZH and Dai ZK contributed equally to the manuscript; Tang HX designed research; Bao ZH and Dai ZK performed research; Bao ZH and Dai ZK wrote the letter; Tang HX revised the letter; All authors approved the final version of the article.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors report no relevant conflicts of interest for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: https://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Hao-Xian Tang, MD, Doctor, Medical College, Shantou University Medical College, No. 22 Xinling Road, Jinping District, Shantou 515041, Guangdong Province, China. 19hxtang@stu.edu.cn
Received: September 27, 2023
Peer-review started: September 27, 2023
First decision: December 4, 2023
Revised: December 16, 2023
Accepted: January 8, 2024
Article in press: January 8, 2024
Published online: January 28, 2024
Processing time: 120 Days and 16 Hours

The present letter to the editor is related to the review with the title “Past, present, and future of long-term treatment for hepatitis B virus.” Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) represents an important and pressing public health concern. Timely identification and effective antiviral therapy hold the potential to reduce liver-related mortality attributable to chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) substantially. However, the current global treatment rates for CHB remain conspicuously low, with the excessively stringent treatment criteria advocated by national CHB guidelines being a contributing factor to these low rates. Nevertheless, recent strides in comprehending this malady and the emergence of novel antiviral agents prompt the imperative re-evaluation of treatment standards to extend the sphere of potential beneficiaries. An impending need arises for a novel paradigm for the classification of patients with CHB, the expansion of antiviral treatment eligibility for HBV-infected individuals, and even the streamlining of the diagnostic process for CHB to amplify cost-effectiveness and augment survival prospects.

Keywords: Hepatitis B virus, Chronic hepatitis B, Antiviral treatment criteria, Serum alanine aminotransferase, Liver-related mortality, Letter to the Editor

Core Tip: Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is a serious public health problem. Early detection and effective antiviral treatment can remarkably reduce liver-related mortality caused by CHB. However, the global diagnosis and treatment rates of CHB are only 10% and 2%, respectively. Expanding the standard of antiviral treatment for patients with hepatitis B is urgently needed to improve cost-effectiveness and survival further.