Dr. Keerthana Ramesh
Antibodies found in natural controllers, mutations could help control Hepatitis B
15 August 2020
Hepatitis is a viral disease which causes inflammation of the liver, resulting in severe scarring of the organ and even cancer. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 250 million people worldwide are suffering from hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B can be transmitted through direct contact with blood, semen and saliva of an infected person. It is an incurable disease which can be life-threatening if not treated early.
Researchers found that when the mutation occurs in the spike region of the protein, it also changes the structure of the protein which helps in making the entire capsid. Scientists believe that the capsid can be an important target in developing drugs against the incurable hepatitis B.
Natural controllers against Hepatitis B
No specific treatment has been developed for hepatitis B. However, in recent research published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, scientists found that there are some rare patients who develop antibodies against the virus that can be found in the blood. These patients are called natural controllers as these antibodies provide protection against the hepatitis B disease, as a vaccine would.
These antibodies not only neutralise the viral infection but also reduced viremia when tested on mice. Viremia is a term used to determine the presence of the virus in the bloodstream.
The scientists believe that these neutralising antibodies from the natural controllers could be used in controlling hepatitis B in chronically ill patients.