The elimination of hepatitis C has been one of the keys of the International Meeting on liver diseases that is held these days in Barcelona and organized by the biopharmaceutical company AbbVie, which brings together both national and international experts. One of the main issues addressed at the symposium was “Opportunities and challenges in the path of eliminating hepatitis C in Spain“, presented by Dr. María Buti, Clinical Head of the Hepatology Unit of the University Hospital Vall d ‘Hebron.
As explained by the doctor herself, “the World Health Organization has set the goal of eliminating hepatitis C in 2030, but this will not be achieved without first modifying the screening strategies.” The specialist has stressed that in Spain there are about 70,000 people with hepatitis C and that there are approximately 1,000 new infections every year. “The number of new diagnoses decreases every year and we must establish strategies to diagnose and treat all people with hepatitis C. Only then can we talk about elimination and thus avoid new infections.” Dr. Buti has highlighted that Spain is one of the countries worldwide reference in the approach to hepatitis C: “We have been leaders in access to treatments and now we are very close to eliminating this disease, we can not miss the opportunity of doing it. ”
For her part, Dr. Zoe Mariño, a hepatologist at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, explained the current challenges in specific patient profiles, such as elderly and polymedicated people, drug users, psychiatric patients and those coming from practice of sexual practices of drug use, patients for whom “there are currently safe and very effective treatments“.
Dr. Joaquín Cabezas, a hepatologist at the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital, highlighted as an example the Cantabria Elimination Plan, which includes a three-year screening among the general population over 40 years of age and whose objective is to eliminate the disease before 2021 in the region. In addition, he has explained, among other initiatives, how they have succeeded in eliminating hepatitis C in the Dueso prison.
Likewise, Dr. Marina Berenguer, a hepatologist at La Fe Hospital in Valencia and president of the International Society for Liver Transplantation, explained how the number of liver transplants from donors carrying hepatitis C virus antibodies is increasing worldwide, an increasingly frequent intervention given that the existing direct-acting antivirals, prevent transmission to the recipient. In addition, he explained how these treatments have allowed to reduce the risk of hepatocarcinoma after the elimination of the virus.