Drastically raising the global rates of hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination and treatment could deal a major blow to the disease, aidsmap reports. Researchers used mathematical modeling to project the potential result of scaled-up hep B interventions, presenting their findings at the 50th International Liver Congress in Vienna, Austria.

Global vaccination of infants is already set to avert 1.2 million new hep B infections by 2030. Without any changes to present measures used to combat the disease, the current worldwide levels of the virus will sustain for perhaps 40 to 50 years, with 20 million deaths related to the virus by 2030.

If interventions are expanded under one particular model, new annual cases of the virus could fall 90 percent and HBV-related deaths could drop 65 percent by 2030. These measures include: vaccinating more than 95 percent of infants; giving 80 percent of infants a birth dose of the vaccine along with hep B immune globulin and antivirals to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus; from 2020 forward, identifying 90 percent of the people living with the virus, treating 90 percent of the eligible population of people who know their status, and having 90 percent of those treated achieve durable viral suppression.

Instituting such interventions would mean averting an estimated 13 million deaths. The global annual cost for such measures would eventually rise to $7.5 billion and fall quickly after 2030.

To read the aidsmap article, click here.