Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C, a liver disease caused by the blood-borne hepatitis C virus (HCV), is a major cause of mortality and morbidity. An estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C, according to the World Health Organization.

The disease causes chronic, progressive liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer. The WHO estimated that in 2016, 399 000 people died from hepatitis C – mostly from cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Many people infected with hepatitis C are unaware of their infection status, leading to delayed diagnosis and low access to highly effective curative treatments. Antiviral medicines can cure more than 95 per cent of people with hepatitis C infection. Currently there is no vaccine to prevent infection.

Babies born to HCV infected mothers are at risk of contracting the virus and it is also transmitted through the blood of an infected person.

Eliminating hepatitis C in Australia

An estimated 180,000 Australians live with chronic hepatitis C resulting in more than 500 deaths from liver cancer and liver failure each year. That makes it one of Australia’s major public health issues. Highly effective curative treatments called direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) became available in Australia in March 2016.

WHO global targets to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat include an 80 per cent reduction of hepatitis C-reduction in new hepatitis C infections and a 65 per cent related deaths by 2030 compared with 2010.

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Hepatitis C: Policy Briefs

Read plain language versions of our reports, great for policymakers and community organisations.

Current Projects

  • ACCESS: The Australian Collaboration for Coordinated Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance of Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmitted Infections

  • co-EC Study: Eliminating hepatitis C/HIV coinfection

  • CREIDU: Centre for Research Excellence into Injecting Drug Use

  • DARE C: ATAHC II Substudy

  • Decision science using Optima

  • Development of a universal prophylactic vaccine for Hepatitis C

  • EC Partnership: Eliminate Hepatitis C Partnership

  • Eliminate Hepatitis C Australia Partnership: EC Australia

  • Feasibility and Outcomes of the Public Sector Hepatitis C Treatment Program in Myanmar

  • HCV Elimination Modelling

  • Hepatitis C and injecting networks

  • Hepatitis C brief reports

  • Hepatitis C: Community Testing and Treatment (CT2)

  • HepSeeVax: Proof-of-concept study of an HCV vaccine candidate

  • Methods for improved sensitivity of lateral flow tests

  • Modelling hepatitis C virus elimination and control policies in Myanmar

  • Natural history and response to treatment recent hepatitis C virus infection among a cluster of HCV genotype-1b infected individuals

  • Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) Snapshot Study

  • Social Networks and the Hepatitis C Virus

  • SuperMIX: The Melbourne Injecting Drug User Cohort Study

  • The Australian Trial in Acute Hepatitis C (ATAHC)

  • The impact of viral infections on immune ageing

  • The International Collaboration on Hepatitis C Elimination in HIV Cohorts (InCHEHC)

  • The Optimise Study: Optimising Isolation, Quarantine and Distancing for COVID-19

  • The PharmEC REACH study

  • The QuickStart Study

  • Understanding how HCV evades the immune system

  • Understanding the correlates of protection for hepaciviruses

  • What drives hepatitis C reinfection?

Past Projects

  • ALT point-of-care diagnostic to detect liver disease

  • EC Australia: The vital missing link to eliminating hepatitis C

  • PATH Cohort Study