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NIH Clinical Research Trials and You

NIH Clinical Research: Reducing the Burden of Hepatitis

3-D structure of hepatitis C virus. Credit: NIDDK Liver Diseases Branch

There are five major hepatitis viruses — A, B, C, D, and E. These viruses can lead to chronic liver disease, liver inflammation and scarring, liver failure and liver cancer. Collectively, viral hepatitis is the most common cause of acute and chronic liver disease in the United States and worldwide. An estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis; most do not know they are infected.

NIH clinical research furthers our understanding of hepatitis so that we can find better ways to diagnose and treat it and to reduce the burden it causes. NIH-funded scientists are testing novel antiviral drugs, therapeutic vaccines, and molecules that modulate the immune response.

Among the many clinical studies that are supported across the NIH:

  • The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) supports a wide variety of hepatitis research, including several studies that currently seek volunteers. In one, researchers will compare different drug treatments for hepatitis B. In another, scientists will study how different doses of a medication may affect virus levels and other symptoms of hepatitis D. A third study is recruiting patients with hepatitis C to examine how they respond to certain drugs.
  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) supports hepatitis research focused on understanding the pathogenesis and immunology of hepatitis viruses and developing novel medications and vaccines. NIAID’s HIV and Emerging Infectious Disease Program conducts viral hepatitis studies at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Patients who are infected with hepatitis C alone or co-infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may be eligible to volunteer for NIAID viral hepatitis studies.
This page last reviewed on July 2, 2013

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