SERA of patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection contain several viral forms. The development of reproducible assays for these markers facilitates the evaluation of intervention with antiviral agents. Human leukocyte interferon, given systemically to patients with chronic HBV infection, resulted in a decrease in the Dane particle markers core antigen (HBcAg), DNA polymerase, and the e antigen (HBeAg) to undetectable levels in the serum.1 The hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) level also decreased in two interferon-treated patients.
Vidarabine (adenine arabinoside), a purine nucleoside that inhibits replication of certain DNA viruses in tissue culture, has been administered to humans in an attempt to alter the course of various herpesvirus infections. Herpes simplex encephalitis patients treated with vidarabine had a significantly reduced mortality in a recent report.2 Toxic reactions with this agent have been minimal at the dosage used in the reported studies.