Data published in Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology estimate the global burden of hepatitis B virus (HBV) to be 257.5 million people, falling short of the 2030 elimination goal set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Polaris Observatory Collaborators, led by senior author Devin Razavi-Shearer, MPH, associate director of hepatitis B and Delta projects at the Center for Disease Analysis Foundation, sought to produce an estimate of national, regional and global HBV prevalence among the general population. Researchers also aimed to determine HBV infection prevalence, prophylaxis coverage and the proportion of people diagnosed and treated.
According to a Healio article, researchers noted that “providing an accurate cumulative incidence of chronic HBV infection requires the assessment of dynamic changes in vaccination programs and HBV treatment uptake, which are not always reflected in meta-analyses or literature reviews that are based on older studies.”
Polaris Observatory Collaborators combined traditional meta-analysis and national expert interviews from 170 countries to calculate a global HBV prevalence of 3.2%, or about 257.5 million individuals. What’s more, researchers estimated that 36 million people had been diagnosed, but only 6.8 million of the estimated 83.3 million people eligible for treatment had received it.
“As more than a million lives are lost every year [to viral hepatitis], collaboration is needed to identify and try new solutions to prevent the devastating cost associated with the status quo,” Razavi-Shearer told Healio.
The study also found the global HBV prevalence among children ages 5 years and younger to be about 0.7%, or 5.6 million. Additionally, although 85% of infants had received the recommended three-dose HBV vaccination in their first year, only 46% had received a timely HBV vaccine at birth. What’s more, only 14% had received the hepatitis B immunoglobin that accompanies the full vaccine regimen.
“Although gains have been made since our previous publication in 2018, none have been large enough to alter the global trajectory of failing to meet the 2030 elimination targets,” the researchers concluded.