HBV international 2023 Kobe meeting

Posted on May 20, 2024   by Jane A McKeating and Peter Revill

Jane A McKeating and Peter Revill take us behind the scenes of their latest publication 'Highlights from the 2023 International Meeting on the Molecular Biology of Hepatitis B virus' published in Journal of General Virology.

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Last September over 500 virologists arrived in Kobe, Japan with a shared objective: to discuss recent results on chronic hepatitis B and delta virus infection. During the four-day meeting dozens of presenters talked about the work of hundreds of researchers, addressing a wide variety of topics around the biology of these important human pathogens.

The meeting encouraged an active discussion of recent advances and we felt it was important to share this information with scientists who were unable to attend the meeting. The chairs for each of the scientific sessions agreed to summarise their topics, and approached presenters to ask if they would be willing to share their results. It is a tribute to the openness and collective will of the participants that they all agreed, even when some of their results were unpublished. This article is a summary of their work and brings into focus two aspects of the HBV research field: where we are, and where we need to go. Importantly, the meeting held a hepatitis B community forum, co-hosted by the Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF, USA) and the International Coalition to Eliminate Hepatitis B (ICE-HBV). This forum focused on progress towards HBV elimination and highlighted the lived experiences, challenges, preferences and needs of people living with chronic hepatitis B. Furthermore, to encourage participation of young and emerging researchers, who comprised many of the presenters at the meeting, the 2023 Meeting commenced with the inaugural Emerging Researcher Workshop to assist the early career researchers to network, with the goal of enhancing a sense of community and driving collaborations in the field.

In addition to summarising the new and exciting results presented during the meeting, in preparing the this review we drafted an unusual table- a list of what we do not know. A series of knowledge gaps were agreed as key objectives for future research. Combined with the description of the latest research this offers a glimpse of what is happening in this dynamic and evolving field.

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