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Understanding the antiviral effects of RNAi-based therapy on chronic hepatitis B infection

Scientific Reports

 January 2021

[Full Text, Pubmed]


The RNA interference (RNAi) drug ARC-520 was shown to be effective in reducing serum hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA, hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in HBeAg-positive patients treated with a single dose of ARC-520 and daily nucleosidic analogue (entecavir). To provide insights into HBV dynamics under ARC-520 treatment and its efficacy in blocking HBV DNA, HBsAg, and HBeAg production we developed a multi-compartmental pharmacokinetic-pharamacodynamic model and calibrated it with frequent measured HBV kinetic data. We showed that the time-dependent single dose ARC-520 efficacies in blocking HBsAg and HBeAg are more than 96% effective around day 1, and slowly wane to 50% in 1-4 months. The combined single dose ARC-520 and entecavir effect on HBV DNA was constant over time, with efficacy of more than 99.8%. The observed continuous HBV DNA decline is entecavir mediated, the strong but transient HBsAg and HBeAg decays are predicted to be ARC-520 mediated. The modeling framework may help assess ongoing RNAi drug development for hepatitis B.

Sarah Kadelka, Harel Dahari, Stanca M Ciupe

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