Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)

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The core of the hepatitis B virus is generally in the shape of an icosahedron. Within the virus, there are two strands of DNA, one smaller than the other, which is circular. HBV is around 42 nm in width, and the core is surrounded in a 4nm thick coat. They are enveloped, which means they are more susceptible to being destroyed, because the envelope is very thin. Viruses in general are very small, much smaller than bacteria, and HBV is no different.

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Reproduction
The hepatitis B virus reproduces in the same way as most (if not all) other viruses do. It attaches itself to the host cell and injects its own genetic material into the nucleus of the cell. The host cell is used to make copies
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As the virus is transmitted by infected bodily fluid, and gets into the body directly (such as a needle being injected into the skin), the main function of the first defence is to create a barrier so that only a minimal amount of the virus enters. The second line of defence is also non-specific, so cannot kill the virus alone. When the immune system tires to kill off HBV, it also damages the liver cells, because the cells involved in this process are not designed to specifically target the invader. In some cases, the inflammatory process can kill not only the virus but also the liver, and therefore the person who was infected. However, death by HBV is rare, more common in adults than children, and only occurs when the carrier has chronic hepatitis B. This can be treated to an extent.
The third line of defence (as mentioned in the bacteria section of this report), is where T-Cells and B-Cells partner together to detect and destroy specific cells. This is the most effective defence, and if the immune system of the infected person works to kill the virus, no medication should be required (this would be an acute case of
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Treatment such as antiviral medication is available to stop help stop the virus from continuing to replicate and spread, and to fight the virus’ effects (i.e. stop the virus from damaging the liver further). Another option for infected persons is a liver transplant, where the damaged liver is removed and replaced with a healthy one. There are other drugs that are being developed as well, aimed at treating hepatitis B effectively. Currently, there is no way to cure a person of the infection fully, merely the above ways of preventing others from getting infected and decreasing the damage the infection can

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