Hepatitis delta genotype 5 is associated with favourable disease outcome and better response to treatment compared to genotype 1

Published:January 22, 2020DOI:


      • Patients of African origin who contract HDV less often have cirrhosis.
      • Patients with HDV and detectable viral load have worse clinical outcomes.
      • Patients with HDV genotype 5 less often develop hepatic decompensation.
      • Patients with HDV genotype 5 seem to respond better to peg-IFN treatment.

      Background & Aims

      Coinfection with HDV causes rapid progression to liver cirrhosis and hepatic decompensation in patients with chronic hepatitis B. Factors that are associated with disease progression are poorly understood. In this study we aim to identify risk factors associated with disease progression and better characterise clinical differences and treatment response between HDV genotype 1 and 5.


      In this retrospective study, all patients under our care between 2005 and 2016 with HBV/HDV coinfection (HBsAg+, anti-HDV antibodies positive) were analysed. Patients were excluded if follow-up was less than 6 months, if they had HCV and/or HIV coinfection or an acute HDV infection. Demographic data, stage of liver disease, development of liver complications and treatment response were recorded.


      One-hundred seven patients (mean age 36.0 years, 57% male) were followed for a median period of 4.4 years (range 0.6–28.1 years); 64% were of African origin and 17% were of European origin, with 28% of patients being cirrhotic at first visit; 43% patients had actively replicating HDV virus (anti-HDV-IgG+, anti-HDV-IgM+ or HDV RNA+) and 57% of patients were HDV exposed (anti-HDV-IgG+, HDV RNA-). Patients with actively replicating HDV more often developed liver complications than HDV-exposed patients (p = 0.002), but no differences in baseline characteristics were observed. Patients with HDV genotype 5 less often developed cirrhosis or hepatic decompensation compared to patients with HDV genotype 1. Twenty-four patients were treated with peg-IFN and post-treatment response was significantly better in patients infected with genotype 5 (10% GT1 vs. 64% GT5, p = 0.013).


      Patients infected with HDV genotype 5 appear to have a better prognosis with fewer episodes of hepatic decompensation and better response to peg-IFN treatment than patients infected with HDV genotype 1.

      Lay summary

      Hepatitis delta is a virus that affects the liver. The virus is known to have different subtypes, called genotypes. With this research we discovered that hepatitis delta virus genotype 1 behaves differently than genotype 5 and causes faster development of liver disease. This is important for education of our patients and to determine how often we need to check our patients.

      Graphical abstract


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