Innovative new programme set to treat 10,000 patients co-infected with hepatitis C and HIV

14 Apr 2016 Bridie Taylor

The World Hepatitis Alliance welcomes the announcement of a new programme initiated by the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc. (CHAI) and AmeriCares that aims to treat 10,000 co-infected HIV and hepatitis C patients in Africa and Asia with new hepatitis C treatment Daklinza (daclatasvir).  

The global burden of HIV/hepatitis C co-infection and its impact is significant. Worldwide an estimated 2.75 million people are co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C, the vast majority of which are in the African and Asian regions. A recent study from the University of Bristol and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine released in February 2016 found that people living with HIV are on average six times more likely to have hepatitis C than HIV-uninfected people, posing a serious health threat, particularly for those living in under-resourced countries.

The programme, QuickStart, will support governments to increase access to hepatitis C treatments in countries including Ethiopia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Rwanda and Vietnam, which together have as many as 30 million people who are antibody-positive for hepatitis C.

“We congratulate CHAI and AmeriCares for pioneering this important programme" said Raquel Peck, Chief Executive Officer of the World Hepatitis Alliance. "But more must be done. Currently, there are 70 million people living with hepatitis C and 130 million with hepatitis B worldwide. We need more initiatives like this which deliver testing, vaccination and treatment, to alleviate the global burden.”

The programme is supported by a multi-year product-donation from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) who recently signed a patent agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), enabling generic manufacture of daclatasvir for sale in 112 low- and middle-income countries.

Peck added: “We are at a pivotal moment in time where the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030 is a realistic goal. To overcome the access barrier across the globe, a multi-stakeholder approach is needed. We urge other pharmaceutical companies to follow BMS’ lead and work with governments and civil society organisations to ensure we achieve the goal of elimination.”

Read the full announcement from CHAI and AmeriCares here.