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Asian Ethnicity May Predict Hep B-Dominant Dual Infection

Ethnicity may predict viral dominance profile in dual infection with hepatitis B and C

THURSDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Asians who are infected with both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are more likely to have HBV-dominant disease, compared to dually infected non-Asians, according to a study published online March 21 in Hepatology.

Long H. Nguyen, of the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues investigated the characteristics of patients infected with both HBV and HCV in a large, multiethnic cohort in the United States. Using HBV DNA, HCV RNA, and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, 115 patients with HBV/HCV dual infection were identified and matched to 115 monoinfected HBV patients. The study team compared demographic, clinical, and viral characteristics of dual and monoinfection.

The researchers found that both groups had similar clinical characteristics: 68 percent male, 83 percent Asian, and age 52±14 years, with median follow-up of 33 to 38 months. The proportion of monoinfected and dual infected patients with ALT above 40 U/L was similar, both at baseline and during follow-up. HBV/HCV co-dominance was rarely seen in patients with dual infection at baseline or follow-up; patients with HBV viremia had low or absent HCV RNA, and patients with detectable HCV RNA had low or absent HBV DNA. Asian ethnicity independently predicted HBV dominance. Significantly more monoinfected patients were treated with HBV antiviral therapy (43 percent versus 24 percent of dual infected patients).

"Our findings may suggest that ethnicity may predict for the dual infection viral dominance profile, more specifically that Asian ethnicity is an independent predictor for HBV-dominated dual infection," the authors write.

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