The silent infection – Hepatitis B virus –

and how we can keep it from being so quiet!

with Vanessa Meier-Stephenson, MD, PhD
3:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) chronically infects over 300 million people worldwide, and places individuals at increased risk of liver disease and liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). While an effective preventative vaccine exists, it has no impact on those already infected. Current therapies can suppress the virus, but none can yet cure it. The virus has had centuries adapting to us and in itself holds many challenges for the development of cure therapies. Until we tackle some of those viral challenges, there’s still so much that can be done to help those currently infected, to find and help those who may be unknowingly harbouring the virus, and to prevent others from getting it.

We’ll highlight some interesting HBV facts; dive right into some of the stigma keeping this virus so silent; discuss the current and suggesting screening approaches; and review the WHO goals for vaccination with a report card on how Canada is doing in relation to this.


Dr. Vanessa Meier-Stephenson is an infectious diseases physician who recently joined the University of Alberta as an Assistant Professor with the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases. Her research interests lie in chronic viral hepatitis and the study of viral-host pathogenesis for this and other viruses. She uses a combination of computational, biophysical and molecular virology methods to explore various viral DNA/RNA and host protein interactions to gain further understanding in viral pathogenesis and evaluate unique approaches to developing therapeutics.