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Vaccination and anti-viral therapy with nucleos(t)ide analogues (NAs) are key approaches to reducing the morbidity, mortality and transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. However, the efficacy of these interventions may be reduced by the emergence of drug resistance-associated mutations (RAMs) and/or vaccine escape mutations (VEMs). We have assimilated data on the global prevalence and distribution of HBV RAMs/VEMs from publicly available data and explored the evolution of these mutations. We analysed sequences downloaded from the HBV Database, and calculated prevalence of 41 RAMs and 38 VEMs catalogued from published studies. We generated maximum likelihood phylogenetic trees and used treeBreaker to investigate the distribution and estimated the age of selected mutations across tree branches. RAM M204I/V had the highest prevalence, occurring in 3.8% (109/2838) of all HBV sequences in our dataset, and a significantly higher rate in genotype C at 5.4% (60/1102, p=0.0007). VEMs had an overall prevalence of 1.3% (37/2837) and had the highest prevalence in genotype C and in Asia at 2.2% (24/1102; p=0.002) and 1.6% (34/2109; p=0.009) respectively. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that RAM/VEMs can arise independently of treatment/vaccine exposure. In conclusion, HBV RAMs/VEMs have been found globally and across genotypes, with the highest prevalence observed in genotype C. Screening for genotype and for resistance-associated mutations may help to improve stratified patient treatment. As NAs and HBV vaccines are increasingly being deployed for HBV prevention and treatment, monitoring for resistance and advocating for better treatment regimens for HBV remains essential.

Original publication




Journal article


J Viral Hepat

Publication Date



Africa, HBV, HBV vaccine, NAs, NUCs, RAMs, TDF, entecavir, epidemiology, lamivudine, prevention, resistance, tenofovir, therapy