Infectious Disease

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a reduction in hepatitis C testing and treatment

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Kaufman reports that he works for Quest Diagnostics and owns shares in Quest Diagnostics. In the study you will find all relevant financial information from all other authors.

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The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant decline in tests and treatments for the hepatitis C virus and hampered efforts to meet WHO’s 2030 goals, according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“As much as we think of 2020 as the year of the pandemic, and hopefully we are in this downward trend right now, it will also be the year we remember hepatitis C.” Harvey W. Kaufman, MD, said Healio, senior medical director at Quest Diagnostics and head of health trends research at Quest Diagnostics.

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“It’s the year the Nobel Prize was awarded Harvey J. Alter, MD, Michael Houghton, PhD, DSc Hon, and Charles M. Rice, PhD, for the discovery of hepatitis C, ”he continued. “It was the year that the United States Task Force on Preventive Services and the CDC revised their guidelines for hepatitis C and recommended testing all adults. It was the year that both the US Preventive Services Task Force and the CDC recommended that pregnant women be tested for any pregnancy. It’s been a great year in terms of what we were hoping for in terms of Hepatitis C detection and awareness. “

Houghton said the pandemic “stood in the way of major medical advancement that can and will be the eradication of hepatitis C. So this study is timely, large, and that’s why we conducted it.”

To assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hepatitis C, Kaufman and colleagues evaluated data from a large national clinical reference laboratory and national estimates of prescriptions dispensed for HCV treatment. According to the study, the researchers estimated the average number of HCV antibody tests, HCV antibody positive test results, and HCV RNA positive test results per month from January to July for 2018 and 2019, and compared these data to the same months in 2020.

The study showed that compared to 2018 and 2019, the HCV antibody test volume decreased by 59% in April 2020 and decreased to 6% in July. In addition, they found that the number of HCV-RNA positive results decreased by 62% in March 2020 and remained 39% below baseline by July 2020.

The study showed that prescriptions for HCV treatments decreased 43% in May, 37% in June, and 38% in July compared to the corresponding months of 2018 and 2019.

“Due to the pandemic, there is a gap in care. We need outreach, we need to involve committed people to get tested and then move on to treatment. We need to expand testing to more adults to include the 2.4 million Americans estimated to have hepatitis C as soon as possible, as many of these people will develop chronic hepatitis and will develop the consequences, which include liver failure, liver cancer and death. You can also unwittingly pass hepatitis C to other people, ”Kaufman said. “I’m not sure we will hit the WHO 2030 target because of the setback, but hopefully we won’t get too far back and we can accelerate our efforts and get back on track.”

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