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World J Gastroenterol. Jun 21, 2014; 20(23): 7152-7168
Published online Jun 21, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i23.7152
Molecular identification of hepatitis B virus genotypes/subgenotypes: Revised classification hurdles and updated resolutions
Mahmoud Reza Pourkarim, Samad Amini-Bavil-Olyaee, Fuat Kurbanov, Marc Van Ranst, Frank Tacke
Mahmoud Reza Pourkarim, Marc Van Ranst, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Laboratory of Clinical and Epidemiological Virology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Mahmoud Reza Pourkarim, Blood Transfusion Research Center, High Institute for Research and Education in Transfusion Medicine, Tehran 15614, Iran
Samad Amini-Bavil-Olyaee, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Harlyne J. Norris Cancer Research Tower, Los Angeles, CA 90033, United States
Fuat Kurbanov, Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, United States
Frank Tacke, Department of Medicine III, RWTH University Hospital Aachen, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Author contributions: All authors contributed to this article.
Supported by Mahmoud Reza Pourkarim is supported by a postdoctoral grant from the ''Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen''
Correspondence to: Frank Tacke, MD, PhD, Department of Medicine III, RWTH University Hospital Aachen, Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany.
Telephone: +49-241-8035848 Fax: +49-241-8082455
Received: October 17, 2013
Revised: November 28, 2013
Accepted: January 2, 2014
Published online: June 21, 2014
Core Tip

Core tip: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) eradication could be achieved through three important points: (1) efficient universal vaccination; (2) accurate diagnostic assays; and (3) effective treatment of HBV carriers. Undoubtedly, these critical measures are not possible without fully understanding the genetics of the virus and being able to differentiate the isolates. In this review article we provide an update of HBV virology, focusing on classification and its impact on diagnosis, clinical outcomes, therapy, prophylaxis, evolution and epidemiology. Subsequently, the role of correct classification in describing HBV is highlighted, and misclassifications together with their causes are recounted. Finally, through the proposal of novel terms, HBV strains are reclassified.