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Modelling the potential effectiveness of hepatitis C screening and treatment strategies during pregnancy in Egypt and Ukraine

Maalej, Nadia Hachicha; Collins, Intira Jeannie; Ades, Anthony E; Scott, Karen; Judd, Ali; Mostafa, Aya; Chappell, Elizabeth; ... Deuffic-Burban, Sylvie; + view all (2023) Modelling the potential effectiveness of hepatitis C screening and treatment strategies during pregnancy in Egypt and Ukraine. Journal of Hepatology 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.12.032. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Hepatitis C (HCV) test and treat campaigns currently excludes pregnant women. Pregnancy offers a unique opportunity for HCV screening and to potentially initiate direct-acting-antiviral treatment. We explored HCV screening and treatment strategies in two lower middle-income countries with high HCV prevalence, Egypt and Ukraine. METHODS: Country-specific probabilistic decision models were developed to simulate a cohort of pregnant women. We compared five strategies: S0, targeted risk-based screening and deferred treatment (DT) to after pregnancy/breastfeeding; S1, WHO risk-based screening and DT; S2, WHO risk-based screening and targeted treatment (treat women with risk factors for HCV vertical transmission (VT)); S3, universal screening and targeted treatment during pregnancy; S4, universal screening and treatment. Maternal and infant HCV outcomes were projected. RESULTS: S0 resulted in the highest proportion of women undiagnosed:59% and 20% in Egypt and Ukraine, respectively, with 0% maternal cure by delivery and VT estimated at 6.5% and 7.9%, respectively. WHO risk-based screening and DT (S1) increased the proportion of women diagnosed with no change in maternal cure or VT. Universal screening and treatment during pregnancy (S4) resulted in the highest proportion of women diagnosed and cured by delivery (65% and 70% respectively), and lower levels of VT (3.4% and 3.6% respectively). CONCLUSIONS: This is one of the first models to explore HCV screening and treatment strategies in pregnancy, which will be critical in informing future care and policy as more safety/efficacy data emerge. Universal screening and treatment in pregnancy could potentially improve both maternal and infant outcomes. IMPACT AND IMPLICATIONS: In the context of two lower middle-income countries with high HCV burden (Egypt and Ukraine), we designed a decision analytic model to explore five different HCV testing and treatment strategies for pregnant women, with the assumption that treatment was safe and efficacious for use in pregnancy. Assuming DAAs in pregnancy reduced vertical transmission, model findings indicate optimal maternal and infant benefits with provision of universal (rather than risk-based targeted) screening and treatment during pregnancy: the proportion of women diagnosed and cured by delivery would be 65% in Egypt and 70% in Ukraine (versus 0% with standard of care), and the proportion of infants that would be infected at the age of 6 months would decrease from 6.5% to 3.4% in Egypt, and from 7.9% to 3.6% in Ukraine, compared to standard of care. While future trials are needed to assess safety and efficacy of DAA treatment in pregnancy and impact on VT, there is increasing recognition that the elimination of HCV cannot leave entire subpopulations of pregnant women and young children behind. Our findings will be critical in informing policymakers in improving screening and treatment recommendations for pregnant women.

Type: Article
Title: Modelling the potential effectiveness of hepatitis C screening and treatment strategies during pregnancy in Egypt and Ukraine
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.12.032
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2022.12.032
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: DAA treatment, HCV screening, effectiveness, modelling, pregnancy, vertical transmission
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10163801
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