Health topic

Hepatitis B (HBV)

A commitment to innovative diagnostics and treatment

A silent, yet life-threatening infection

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). An estimated 240 million people worldwide are chronically infected with HBV, and more than 780,000 die each year due to complications such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.1

HBV Worldwide Statistic

While there is no cure for hepatitis B, it can be prevented. Currently available vaccines are 95% effective in inhibiting infection and the subsequent development of chronic disease.2


What makes hepatitis B so dangerous?


Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.

Acute & Chronic HBV

Most people display no symptoms upon initial infection with HBV, and they often aren’t diagnosed until the onset of advanced liver disease. In the meantime, they can unknowingly spread the virus through sexual contact and exchange of bodily fluids. In fact, hepatitis B is 50–100 times more infectious than HIV.

Efforts to treat the infection can be hindered by limited access to proper diagnostics and medication.


Detection and treatment of HBV


There are many different blood tests available to diagnose hepatitis B.

  • Serological testing is performed to determine the presence of antibodies in response to a hepatitis B infection
  • Molecular tests determine the amount of HBV in the blood at baseline and as a response to treatment and can be powerful tools for making proper treatment decisions
3 Types of Viral Hepatitis

Treatment can be tailored precisely to an individual patient’s needs. There is no medication available to treat acute hepatitis B. People with chronic hepatitis B should be monitored regularly for signs of liver disease and evaluated for possible treatment.

Roche continues to search for new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat HBV, while working to further enable access to those in need. Our portfolio of highly sensitive and accurate assays plays a critical role in screening blood, plasma and organ donors and supports clinicians in the effective management of chronic HBV infections.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hepatitis B FAQs for the Public. Accessed January 13, 2017.
  2. World Health Organization (WHO). Fact sheet No. 204: Hepatitis B. Accessed May 13, 2016.
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