Inferential evidence is presented that attenuation of hepatitis-B-antigen (H.B. Ag)-positive hepatitis may favour the progression of acute to chronic liver disease and the development of a persistent H.B. Ag carrier state. These considerations may be relevant to the use of antibody to the hepatitisB antigen (anti-H.B. Ag) in the prophylaxis of hepatitis B. Based on preliminary encouraging results, controlled trials to test the efficacy of anti-H.B. Ag are being planned or are in progress. It is urged that these trials go beyond questions relevant to acute, overt hepatitis and specifically examine the possible induction of chronic liver disease and a persistent viral carrier state.
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