Women with chronic hepatitis B and high viral load who were treated with tenofovir (Viread) during pregnancy were significantly less likely to transmit hepatitis B virus (HBV) to their babies, according to study findings presented this week at the 2015 AASLD Liver Meeting in San Francisco. Another study showed that women with hepatitis B often experience viral load or ALT ‘flares’ during pregnancy or post-partum.
Calvin Pan from New York University School of Medicine and colleagues from China conducted a randomised study of the effect of tenofovir on perinatal transmission of HBV.
Prevention of mother-to-child HBV transmission is the most effective way to reduce the global burden of chronic hepatitis B infection and liver cancer, Pan said. Despite immunoprophylaxis using hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG), about 10-30% of infants born to women with high HBV DNA become infected. Current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines do not recommend antiviral therapy for hepatitis B during pregnancy.