Priorities for hep C elimination

Burnet institute oct 2018 178 margaret hellard 510x288

Image: Burnet Institute Deputy Director (Programs), Professor Margaret Hellard AM

The availability of new highly effective treatments has brought the World Health Organization (WHO) goals for the global elimination of hepatitis C within reach, but much more is required, according to Burnet Institute Deputy Director, Professor Margaret Hellard AM.

Writing in a Lancet Seminar on Hepatitis C, Professor Hellard and her co-authors outline the priorities and non-negotiables for elimination, including:

  • Increased diagnosis and linkage to care
  • Universal access to affordable diagnostics and therapies
  • Identifying and decriminalising key populations including people who inject drugs (PWID), and men who have sex with men
  • Combining treatment with expansion of PWID harm reduction services to break the cycle of infection and reinfection
  • Upscaling blood safety programs
  • Ongoing research into antiviral formulations and vaccine development, and
  • Focused public health programs and innovative financing

“Achieving WHO 2030 elimination goals is possible, but it will require political will to recognise viral hepatitis as a health priority, set national elimination targets, develop costed national viral hepatitis plans with dedicated funding, and ensure universal access to therapy,” the authors write.

In 2016, WHO adopted a global strategy to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030, including a 90 percent reduction in cases of hepatitis B and C, and a 65 percent reduction in mortality.

Persistent infection with hepatitis C virus is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, resulting in 475,000 deaths in 2015.

The Lancet Seminars are clinically focused cutting-edge reviews of medical topics. They provide up to date and balanced discussion of any current controversies.

Find put more about Burnet’s life-saving hepatitis research, and how you can support our efforts to eliminate viral hepatitis.

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