Functional cure of hepatitis B
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection affects 3.5% of the global population and causes nearly one million deaths every year. Currently available antiviral therapy suppresses viral replication and reduces the risk of progression to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. However, treatment rarely leads to the loss of the HBV surface antigen (or “functional cure”), a condition associated with improved clinical outcomes and the potential for finite treatment duration. Recent improvements in the understanding of HBV biology have allowed for the development of a number of novel treatment candidates with a high potential for functional cure. These promising developments may constitute an important step towards the elimination of viral hepatitis as a global health problem.
Gilles Wandeler, Bern University Hospital, Switzerland
Gilles Wandeler is an infectious diseases physician at Bern University Hospital, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern. He obtained a master’s degree in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and started his research career within the framework of the Swiss HIV Cohort Study. He leads numerous projects on HIV and viral hepatitis infections and recently obtained a Professorship from the Swiss National Science Foundation to study HBV functional cure in sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.
He is a member of the Scientific Board of the Swiss HIV Cohort Study and the Chairman of the Steering Committee of EuroSIDA. He teaches at the Universities of Bern, Basel, Bordeaux and Barcelona.