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      Scaling up prevention and treatment towards the elimination of hepatitis C: a global mathematical model

      , MRes a , , Prof, DPhil b , , PhD a , c , , Prof, MD c , , Prof, PhD a , *

      Lancet (London, England)

      Elsevier

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          Summary

          Background

          The revolution in hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment through the development of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) has generated international interest in the global elimination of the disease as a public health threat. In 2017, this led WHO to establish elimination targets for 2030. We evaluated the impact of public health interventions on the global HCV epidemic and investigated whether WHO's elimination targets could be met.

          Methods

          We developed a dynamic transmission model of the global HCV epidemic, calibrated to 190 countries, which incorporates data on demography, people who inject drugs (PWID), current coverage of treatment and prevention programmes, natural history of the disease, HCV prevalence, and HCV-attributable mortality. We estimated the worldwide impact of scaling up interventions that reduce risk of transmission, improve access to treatment, and increase screening for HCV infection by considering six scenarios: no change made to existing levels of diagnosis or treatment; sequentially adding the following interventions: blood safety and infection control, PWID harm reduction, offering of DAAs at diagnosis, and outreach screening to increase the number diagnosed; and a scenario in which DAAs are not introduced (ie, treatment is only with pegylated interferon and oral ribavirin) to investigate the effect of DAA use. We explored the effect of varying the coverage or impact of these interventions in sensitivity analyses and also assessed the impact on the global epidemic of removing certain key countries from the package of interventions.

          Findings

          By 2030, interventions that reduce risk of transmission in the non-PWID population by 80% and increase coverage of harm reduction services to 40% of PWID could avert 14·1 million (95% credible interval 13·0–15·2) new infections. Offering DAAs at time of diagnosis in all countries could prevent 640 000 deaths (620 000–670 000) from cirrhosis and liver cancer. A comprehensive package of prevention, screening, and treatment interventions could avert 15·1 million (13·8–16·1) new infections and 1·5 million (1·4–1·6) cirrhosis and liver cancer deaths, corresponding to an 81% (78–82) reduction in incidence and a 61% (60–62) reduction in mortality compared with 2015 baseline. This reaches the WHO HCV incidence reduction target of 80% but is just short of the mortality reduction target of 65%, which could be reached by 2032. Reducing global burden depends upon success of prevention interventions, implemention of outreach screening, and progress made in key high-burden countries including China, India, and Pakistan.

          Interpretation

          Further improvements in blood safety and infection control, expansion or creation of PWID harm reduction services, and extensive screening for HCV with concomitant treatment for all are necessary to reduce the burden of HCV. These findings should inform the ongoing global action to eliminate the HCV epidemic.

          Funding

          Wellcome Trust.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 33

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          Peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin compared with interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin for initial treatment of chronic hepatitis C: a randomised trial.

          A sustained virological response (SVR) rate of 41% has been achieved with interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin therapy of chronic hepatitis C. In this randomised trial, peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin was compared with interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin. 1530 patients with chronic hepatitis C were assigned interferon alfa-2b (3 MU subcutaneously three times per week) plus ribavirin 1000-1200 mg/day orally, peginterferon alfa-2b 1.5 microg/kg each week plus 800 mg/day ribavirin, or peginterferon alfa-2b 1.5 microg/kg per week for 4 weeks then 0.5 microg/kg per week plus ribavirin 1000-1200 mg/day for 48 weeks. The primary endpoint was the SVR rate (undetectable hepatitis C virus [HCV] RNA in serum at 24-week follow-up). Analyses were based on patients who received at least one dose of study medication. The SVR rate was significantly higher (p=0.01 for both comparisons) in the higher-dose peginterferon group (274/511 [54%]) than in the lower-dose peginterferon (244/514 [47%]) or interferon (235/505 [47%]) groups. Among patients with HCV genotype 1 infection, the corresponding SVR rates were 42% (145/348), 34% (118/349), and 33% (114/343). The rate for patients with genotype 2 and 3 infections was about 80% for all treatment groups. Secondary analyses identified bodyweight as an important predictor of SVR, prompting comparison of the interferon regimens after adjusting ribavirin for bodyweight (mg/kg). Side-effect profiles were similar between the treatment groups. In patients with chronic hepatitis C, the most effective therapy is the combination of peginterferon alfa-2b 1.5 microg/kg per week plus ribavirin. The benefit is mostly achieved in patients with HCV genotype 1 infections.
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            Epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection.

             M Alter,  Harvey Alter (2007)
            Globally, hepatitis C virus (HCV) has infected an estimated 130 million people, most of whom are chronically infected. HCV-infected people serve as a reservoir for transmission to others and are at risk for developing chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It has been estimated that HCV accounts for 27% of cirrhosis and 25% of HCC worldwide. HCV infection has likely been endemic in many populations for centuries. However, the wave of increased HCV-related morbidity and mortality that we are now facing is the result of an unprecedented increase in the spread of HCV during the 20th century. Two 20th century events appear to be responsible for this increase; the widespread availability of injectable therapies and the illicit use of injectable drugs.
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              Treating viral hepatitis C: efficacy, side effects, and complications.

               M P Manns (2006)
              The treatment of hepatitis C has dramatically improved over the past decade. Unlike any other chronic viral infection, a significant proportion of patients with chronic hepatitis C can be cured. However, the current standard therapy--pegylated interferon alpha and ribavirin--has its limitations. Limited efficacy in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 and the side effect profile will necessitate the development of new therapeutic approaches. This review describes the efficacy and optimisation of the current standard therapy of hepatitis C and its problems in special patient populations. New treatment directions beyond interferon alpha based therapies are on the horizon.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Lancet
                Lancet
                Lancet (London, England)
                Elsevier
                0140-6736
                1474-547X
                30 March 2019
                30 March 2019
                : 393
                : 10178
                : 1319-1329
                Affiliations
                [a ]MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK
                [b ]Division of Infectious Diseases, St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College London, London, UK
                [c ]Division of Digestive Diseases, St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College London, London, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence to: Prof Timothy B Hallett, MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Department of Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London W2 1PG, UK timothy.hallett@ 123456imperial.ac.uk
                Article
                S0140-6736(18)32277-3
                10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32277-3
                6484702
                30704789
                © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license

                This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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                Medicine

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