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Decline in hepatitis C infections globally is encouraging but still not enough

This Sankey diagram shows colored bars representing the number of HCV infections changing over time (from 2015 to 2020) by country. The left axis is "Total viraemic infections (beginning of 2015)" with the countries ordered by the number of viraemic infec

Sankey diagram of HCV infections in 2020, compared with infections at the beginning of 2015, including the fraction attributable to treatment and cure, among countries accounting for more than 70% of infections in 2015.

Important study of hepatitis data collected and interpreted by more than 250 collaborators published today by The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology

This seminal work establishes a new baseline for the current burden of hepatitis C and it was only possible through contributions from national experts”
— Sarah Blach
LAFAYETTE, CO, USA, February 15, 2022 / -- Global hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections declined by nearly 7 million between 2015 and 2020, but the number of infections is still estimated to exceed 56 million, according to an extensive study coordinated by the Center for Disease Analysis Foundation, which was published today in The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology. “Global change in hepatitis C virus prevalence and cascade of care between 2015 and 2020” is authored by 258 members of the Polaris Observatory HCV Collaborators group, in partnership with the foundation.

The study provides an update on the prevalence of HCV in 235 countries and the burden it presents on these global communities. It examines HCV prevalence, cascade of care (including diagnosis and treatment) as well as forecasts for new infections, end stage outcomes, and deaths. The new direct acting antivirals (DAAs) therapies, which can cure HCV infections in a few weeks with nearly no side effects, have been used by an estimated 10.1 million infected people since 2015.

Despite the encouraging decline, the number of infections that remain suggests, per the model forecast, that the world is not on track to achieve elimination targets set by the World Health Assembly for 2030. Less than 10 years remain to meet this goal, which will require substantial effort.

Hepatitis C is the third leading cause of cancer deaths globally, and individuals infected with the HCV are 20 times more likely to develop liver cancer. As decision makers evaluate their HCV elimination efforts and progress following the COVID-19 pandemic, this study provides an updated baseline for future activities.

“This seminal work establishes a new baseline for the current burden of hepatitis C and it was only possible through contributions from national experts” said study author Sarah Blach. “More work is needed to eliminate HCV, but a growing number of success stories across countries, regions and income groups suggest there is still hope for elimination.”

CDA Foundation is a nonprofit organization focused on accelerating hepatitis B and C elimination through verified epidemiological data, disease burden and economic impact modeling, intervention strategies, access to affordable diagnostics and treatments, innovative financing and knowledge-sharing partnerships. It accomplishes these goals through two initiatives: the Polaris Observatory ( and the Global Procurement Fund ( For more information about this work or the Polaris Observatory, please contact Homie Razavi,

Link to the full study

Homie Razavi
CDA Foundation
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