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Public Health Interventions Could Cut Global Burden of Hepatitis C

Package of prevention, screening, treatments could avert 15.1 million new infections versus 2015

human liver

TUESDAY, Jan. 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Public health interventions can go a long way toward meeting World Health Organization hepatitis C virus (HCV) targets, according to a study published online Jan. 28 in The Lancet.

Alastair Heffernan, from Imperial College London, and colleagues developed a dynamic transmission model of the global HCV epidemic calibrated to 190 countries to estimate the impact of scaling up public health interventions.

The researchers found that 14.1 million new infections could be averted by 2030 using interventions that reduce the risk for transmission in people who do not inject drugs by 80 percent and that increase the coverage of harm reduction services to 40 percent of people who inject drugs. A total of 640,000 deaths from cirrhosis and liver cancer could be prevented if direct-acting antivirals are offered at the time of diagnosis in all countries. Compared with the 2015 baseline, 15.1 million new infections and 1.5 million cirrhosis and liver cancer deaths could be averted with a comprehensive package of prevention, screening, and treatment interventions, corresponding to an 81 percent reduction in incidence and a 61 percent reduction in mortality. These numbers would reach the WHO HCV incidence reduction target of 80 percent but would fall short of the 65 percent reduction target for mortality.

"This modeling work has shown that substantial progress towards global elimination can be made while greatly reducing the burden of new infections and premature deaths," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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