World Hepatitis Day 2016 - Focus on long term protection after treatment to achieve a 65% reduction in deaths
The World Health Organization’s strategy on viral hepatitis in 2015 estimated that there would be 1.4 million deaths from hepatitis-related diseases in 2016. The mortality rate is very high and the number of deaths is far greater than the sum of deaths from Malaria and HIV . Therefore, one of the main targets of World Hepatitis Day 2016 is to reduce hepatitis-related deaths by 65% by 2030, through improving vaccination, preventing early-life infection and providing universal access to treatment.
A 65% reduction is not an easy target and in order to achieve this target by 2030, there is a key factor that cannot be neglected but was not mentioned above: post-treatment recovery and protection.
A recent study stated that even after successful eradication of hepatitis C virus and achieving sustained virologic response (SVR), the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or liver cancer remains . Another research conducted by the University of Barcelona pointed out that after receiving treatment, some hepatitis C patients developed HCC and the progression was very fast. Research suspected that this was due to the immune system, and suggested that hepatitis C patients monitor their condition closely after treatment, especially those who had HCC or liver fibrosis previously.
These results show that the risk of serious liver diseases remains even after successful treatment. In addition, after eliminating the virus, the liver needs to rely on its self-repair ability to produce new liver cells so that normal liver function can resume. Therefore, enhancing liver recovery and protection is an integral part that should be added to the strategy. In order to reduce the number of deaths caused by hepatitis-related diseases by 65% effectively, post-treatment liver protection measures must be improved to ensure the liver’s longevity and lower the risk of death.
- Draft global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis, 2016-2021 http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA69/A69_32-en.pdf?ua=1 (Assessed: 2016-6-29)
- Risk of hepatocellular carcinoma after sustained virological response in Veterans with hepatitis C virus infection http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26946190 (Assessed: 2016-6-29)
- Unexpected early tumor recurrence in patients with hepatitis C virus -related hepatocellular carcinoma undergoing interferon-free therapy: a note of caution http://www.journal-of-hepatology.eu/article/S0168-8278(16)30113-1/abstract (Assessed: 2016-6-29)
- * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.