The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 257 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and another 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.1 In 2015, both infections accounted for 1.34 million deaths worldwide and this worked out to 2.5 deaths every minute from 1 of the hepatitis viruses. Such diseases of the liver have vexed physicians for centuries and was described by Virchow as “catarrhal jaundice” about 100 years ago.2 Realising that the condition was probably infectious owing to clustered outbreaks, the term “serum vs infectious hepatitis” was subsequently coined. It was not until 1965 when the late physician, Baruch Samuel Blumberg, discovered HBV in the blood of an Australian aborigine as one of the main culprits of “serum hepatitis”.
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