About the book
Infection with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) leads to an asymptomatic acute stage. However, approximately 75% of acutely infected patients face a substantial risk of developing chronic HCV infection. During the 2 decades after infection, 27% develop liver cirrhosis, and 25% develop hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Worldwide, an estimated 71 million people were living with chronic HCV infection (1.0% of the global population). Whilst, in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA), it was estimated that more than 14 million people were living with chronic HCV infection, suggesting a relatively higher prevalence of 1.5% in this area.
The primary goal of diagnostic testing is to identify and link infected individuals to appropriate treatment. Several modelling studies suggest that scaling up an HCV treatment can lead to substantial reductions in anti-HCV prevalence and reduce transmission. Anti-HCV antibodies are detectable by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) in the vast majority of patients with an HCV infection. In addition, rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are also recommended in settings where there is limited access to laboratory infrastructure and testing or populations where access to RDTs would facilitate linkage to care.
The introduction of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) has been a major breakthrough in the treatment of hepatitis C. However, the high acquisition costs of sofosbuvir-based regimens limit the access for patients and influence the costs of healthcare resource utilization in hepatitis C. It is important to have the latest estimates of prevalence, especially in high-risk groups, for cost of illness, cost-effectiveness and the budget of impact studies.