Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Hepatitis C virus infection in children: How do we prevent it and how do we treat it?

Hepatitis C virus infection in children: How do we prevent it and how do we treat it?
Nwaohiri A, et al. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2018.

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Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection is an important contributor to the worldwide burden of liver-related morbidity and mortality. Mother-to-child transmission of HCV ranges from 6-11% in different populations globally, but accurate estimates on the burden of pediatric HCV infection are limited because screening approaches are not consistent. Areas covered: The advent of new direct-acting antiviral agents that achieve very high rates of sustained virologic response, (representing virologic cure) with short (i.e., 8 to 12 weeks) regimens has revolutionized the field of HCV treatment and led to the development of global elimination goals for HCV transmission and mortality. However, information on their safety during pregnancy and efficacy in preventing mother-to-child transmission is lacking. Currently, there are no approved treatment regimens with these antiviral agents for children younger than 12 years of age. Expert Commentary: If these agents are shown to be safe during pregnancy and effective in preventing transmission to the infant, screening of pregnant women and antenatal treatment of those infected, could pave the way for eliminating pediatric HCV infection- particularly as these drugs become less costly and more accessible. Treatment of infected children when indicated, along with universal safe health care practices, can further pediatric HCV elimination.

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