HealthDay News – The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced routine testing and treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV), according to a study published online May 10 in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Harvey W. Kaufman, MD, of Quest Diagnostics in Secaucus, New Jersey, and colleagues evaluated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on routine HCV testing and treatment. Using data from a national reference clinical laboratory, the average number of HCV antibody tests, positive anti-HCV antibody test results, and positive HCV RNA test results per month from January to July 2018 and 2019 were compared with the same months in 2020. Assessment of the hepatitis C treatment pandemic through national estimates of prescriptions dispensed for viral hepatitis.
The researchers found that the volume of HCV antibody testing fell 59 percent during April 2020 versus 2018 and 2019 but rebounded to a 6 percent decrease in July 2020. Baseline by July 2020. For the corresponding months in 2018 and 2019, in May 2020 , hepatitis C treatment prescriptions decreased by 43 percent, compared to 37 percent in June 2020 and 38 percent in July 2020.
“It is important to communicate the need to bring viral hepatitis testing and treatment above pre-epidemic levels to identify people who have delayed or skipped health care services,” Kaufman said in a statement. “Fortunately, hepatitis C infection is now a curable condition and a hepatitis C antibody screening test is the first step.”
Several authors disclosed financial ties to Quest Diagnostics, which funded the study.
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