Hepatitis B Foundation Commends Targets to Eliminate Hepatitis B in U.S.

U.S. National Academies of Sciences Report Concludes Hepatitis B Mortality Can Be Cut 50%

Doylestown, PA (March 28, 2017) – The Hepatitis B Foundation commends the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report, A National Strategy for the Elimination of Hepatitis B and C: Phase Two Report, that concludes a 50 percent reduction in mortality from chronic hepatitis B infection, as well as elimination of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B, is possible in the United States by 2030 with appropriate prioritization and resources. As a result of reducing hepatitis B, there would be a decrease of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC or primary liver cancer) by about one-third since hepatitis B is a leading cause of HCC, a decrease of hepatitis B-related cirrhosis by about 45 percent, and the prevention of more than 60,000 deaths nationwide over the next decade.

Hepatitis B is a deadly liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). In the U.S., it is estimated that over 2 million Americans are living with chronic HBV infection, only 25 percent are aware of their infection, and less than 10 percent of infected individuals are able to access care and treatment. The NASEM committee set targets for HBV elimination, reporting that meeting the stated goals would require diagnosing 90 percent of cases, linking 90 percent of cases to care, and treating 80 percent of cases.

The NASEM report is the U.S. response to the World Health Organization’s call for countries to eliminate viral hepatitis as a major public health problem by 2030, and it recommends specific actions towards the elimination of hepatitis B and C within five key areas: information, interventions, service delivery, financing and research.

“The report confirms significant improvements are needed to increase life-saving screening and access to care and treatment of hepatitis B,” said Joan Block RN, BSN, co-founder and executive director of the Hepatitis B Foundation. “The U.S. targets are bold and possible, but it will require the political will and investment in resources to achieve these ambitious goals.”

“We agree that a critical investment in hepatitis B research is needed, with priority given to finding a cure,” responded Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, director of public health at the Hepatitis B Foundation. “Together with an already effective vaccine, a cure for hepatitis B would truly make hepatitis B history.”

Investing in hepatitis B cure research is a key research area highlighted in the report, along with creating a standard national public health surveillance system; improving capacity for providers to screen, manage and treat patients; and identifying effective strategies for improving risk-based screening and linkage to care rates in hard to reach populations.

Read the complete report, A National Strategy for the Elimination of Hepatitis B and C: Phase Two Report, prepared by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on its website at www.nationalacademies.org/HepatitisElimination.

About the Hepatitis B Foundation - The Hepatitis B Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B and improving the quality of life for those affected worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. To learn more, go to www.hepb.org, read our blog at hepb.org/blog, follow us on Twitter @HepBFoundation, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/hepbfoundation or call 215-489-4900.

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