A comprehensive package of prevention, screening and treatment interventions could avert 15.1 million new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections, leading to 1.5 million fewer deaths globally by 2030 - equal to an 80 per cent reduction in incidence and a 60 per cent reduction in mortality compared with 2015 according to research published in the Lancet.
Researchers developed a transmission model of the global HCV epidemic, calibrated to 190 countries. The first-of-its-kind study found that if current trends continue, the estimated number of people living with HCV will gradually decrease to 58 million in 2050 but could rise by the end of the century. Outcomes will be worse if access to direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment is not improved.
Interventions that reduce risk of transmission in the general population by 80 per cent and increase harm reduction services to 40 per cent of people who inject drugs (PWID) could avert 14.1 million new infections. Offering DAAs at the time of diagnosis in all countries could prevent 640,000 deaths from cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Combining blood safety and infection control, PWID harm reduction, DAAs at diagnosis and outreach screening would result in the biggest reductions - averting 15.1 million new infections and 1.5 million deaths globally by 2030.