The researchers recruited patients with chronic hepatitis B and elevated liver test results (an alanine transaminase level 1.3 to 5 times the upper limit of normal) from a single hospital in Hong Kong. They randomly assigned patients to receive pegylated interferon-α2b for 32 weeks plus lamivudine for 52 weeks or lamivudine alone for 52 weeks. In the first group, interferon was given for 8 weeks before the lamivudine was started. Interferon was injected under the skin once weekly, and lamivudine was taken as a daily pill. The researchers asked patients about side effects and tested blood for evidence of virus, resistant mutants, and liver inflammation routinely during treatment and also 24 weeks after treatment ended.