In 1977, Dr. Mario Rizzetto discovered a new antigen in hepatocytes of patients with chronic type B hepatitis. This antigen was part of the Hepatitis D virus (HDV). This agent is a subviral “satellite virus” that requires Hepatitis B virus as a helper virus to provide envelope proteins. HDV's unique double rolling circle model replication process and unusual genome sequence distinguish it from known animal viruses. HDV infection is associated with the most severe cases of viral hepatitis and high incidence of cirrhosis in chronic hepatitis.
Created: February 1, 2000
Last modified: February 6, 2000