Lessons learnt over two decades of vaccination against hepatitis B in Italy


Hepatitis B
HBV mutants


This article reviews topics covered and discussed at the Meeting:  Vaccini e vaccinazioni. Migliorare lâoggi e preparare il domani, held in Genoa, Italy, on 12 September 2014. Data presented at the meeting, clearly showed that: 1) hepatitis B vaccination can confer long-term protection and there is no need for booster in immunocompetent vaccinees; 2) vaccination is highly effective in protecting population from clinical acute or chronic HBV infections, including hepatocellular carcinoma; 3) children vaccinated as infants with hexavalent vaccines maintain immunological memory 5 years after priming, but further studies are needed to assess whether immunity persists during the adolescence and adulthood when risk of exposure to HBV becomes higher; 4) the emergence of vaccine-escape mutants and Pol-gene mutants during antiviral therapy - which can result in changes in the S-gene - is of some concern, but at present there is no evidence that such mutants may pose a threat to the established programs of vaccination.



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