HEPATITIS B Many people in the US with chronic hepatitis B not being properly monitored | Michael Carter

Many people with chronic hepatitis B virus infection have infrequent medical monitoring, according to US research published in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Analysis of the records of over 2000 people with the chronic infection followed for an average of six years showed that a quarter did not have an annual assessment of a key marker of liver function, only a third had yearly measurement of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA, and that 11% of people with cirrhosis had never had a liver ultrasound. Only 32% were prescribed HBV therapy and 44% of those with cirrhosis were not under treatment.

“We found that CHB [chronic hepatitis B] patients had suboptimal clinical monitoring and, accordingly, insufficient data to determine disease phase and antiviral treatment eligibility,” comment the researchers.

An estimated 850,000 individuals are living with chronic hepatitis B in the United States. The infection has four phases that depend primarily on alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level and HBV DNA levels. It is therefore essential that patients have these markers frequently assessed to guide decisions about treatment and care.

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Long-term lamivudine therapy leads to HBsAg loss in patients with HBV

Long-term lamivudine therapy led to hepatitis B surface antigen loss in patients with chronic hepatitis B, according to recent findings published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Lamivudine was found to have good activity, lowering HBV DNA levels in virtually all patients with subsequent improvements in serum enzyme levels and hepatic histology,” Shilpa Lingala, MD, clinical fellow at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the NIH at the time of study publication. “A major shortcoming, however, was the development of anti-viral resistance after which HBV DNA levels generally rose and the biochemical and histological features worsened.”

Long-term lamivudine therapy is associated with clearance of hepatitis B surface antigen, the researchers wrote. However, it remains unclear how long patients should be treated and what criteria should be used to stop therapy.

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Hepatitis B, C pose huge health challenge in India: Experts (July 28 is World Hepatitis Day)

New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) Despite the cost of drugs coming down and dramatic advances in the treatment of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, getting rid of both types of the disease remains a huge challenge primarily due to lack of awareness and unsafe injection practices, experts have rued.

Hepatitis B is 50-100 times more infectious than HIV and Hepatitis C is 10 times more infectious than the virus that can cause AIDS. Yet, while people are by and large aware of HIV, there is little awareness about Hepatitis, health experts have lamented.

“In India, Hepatitis is a matter of concern because three to six billion injections are given each year, of which two-thirds are unsafely administered. This makes a large part of the population vulnerable to viruses transmitted through the blood,” Siddharth Srivastava, Associate Professor, GB Pant Hospital here told IANS.

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China needs to take urgent action to save lives of 10 million hepatitis patients: WHO

About 10 million people living with chronic hepatitis in China will die “mostly avoidable deaths” by 2030 unless Beijing takes ­“urgent action” to improve access to treatment, the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday.

The international agency’s warning comes a day ahead of World Hepatitis Day.

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