The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a major increase in the worldwide treatment of hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV, HCV), with the ultimate hope of nearly eliminating the transmission of these two forms of viral hepatitis by 2030, aidsmap reports. A WHO official presented various targets for viral hepatitis treatment at the World Hepatitis Summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
WHO seeks an eventual 90 percent reduction in the transmission of HBV and HCV, a 65 percent reduction in deaths related to the viruses, and 80 percent of those with either virus ultimately treated.
Despite an estimated 400 million people living with hep B or C (some are coinfected with both) worldwide, public awareness about the two viruses is low.
WHO has proposed treating 5 million people for hep B and 3 million people for hep C by 2020. (Hep B can be treated, while today’s hep C treatment options are highly likely to lead to a cure.) While these targets are likely unachievable if pharma companies do not agree to lower their prices, WHO asserts that refraining from treating viral hepatitis will ultimately prove more expensive. Reducing new cases of both viruses by 90 percent by 2030 would slash the rate of new infections from 6 to 10 million per year in 2015 to 900,000 per year by 2030. Meeting WHO’s diagnosis and treatment targets would lead to a 65 percent cut in the annual HBV and HCV-related death rate, from 1.4 million in 2015 to 500,000 in 2030.