Animal models of hepatitis b virus infection–success, challenges, and future directions

Yongzhen Liu, Stephanie Maya, Alexander Ploss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection affects more than 250 million people worldwide, which greatly increases the risk for terminal liver diseases, such as liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Even though current approved antiviral therapies, including pegylated type I interferon (IFN) and nucleos(t)ide analogs, can effectively suppress viremia, HBV infection is rarely cured. Since HBV exhibits a narrow species tropism and robustly infects only humans and higher primates, progress in HBV research and preclinical testing of antiviral drugs has been hampered by the scarcity of suitable animal models. Fortunately, a series of surrogate animal models have been developed for the study of HBV. An increased understanding of the barriers towards interspecies transmission has aided in the development of human chimeric mice and has greatly paved the way for HBV research in vivo, and for evaluating potential therapies of chronic hepatitis B. In this review, we summarize the currently available animal models for research of HBV and HBV-related hepadnaviruses, and we discuss challenges and future directions for improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number777
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


  • Animal model
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Humanized mice
  • Species tropism


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