Eliminating viral hepatitis should be a national priority
Australia (July 2023) – As World Hepatitis Day draws near, the Australian Centre of Hepatitis Virology continues its research efforts to eliminate viral hepatitis as a health threat by 2030, a WHO goal that Australia has committed to.
Viral hepatitis is one of the biggest killers worldwide, claiming the life of 1 person every 30 seconds through liver failure or liver cancer. The Western Pacific Region holds the greatest number of people living with viral hepatitis, affecting more than 1 out of every 16 people.
While basic and translational science have already developed technologies to fight hepatitis B and hepatitis C, the job is not done yet. The 257 million (and growing) people already living with hep B will live with it for the rest of their lives as we do not yet have a cure. Without a preventative vaccine for hep C, communities remain vulnerable to infection. Medical research into viral hepatitis can bridge the gap between what we can do and what we should do. Australia punches above its weight in the research field, with numerous world-renowned virologists who collaborate across the country and internationally. The market and health impact for Australian hepatitis research and inventions are potentially immense and would cement our place on the global stage. But constant underfunding means we are fighting with one hand tied behind our back.
Australia has the reputation of being a “clever country” and holds in its grasp the potential to be a leading light in the region for medical research. A cure for hep B, a vaccine for hep C, and new tools to find those with viral hepatitis before cancer or liver failure strikes are all within our reach, if we choose to invest in our research sector.
The Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology has fostered scientists in this field for more than 40 years. Elimination of these diseases can be achieved with new developments, but they need to happen now to meet our commitments. We look forward to seeing broad support for viral hepatitis research to reach these goals. We just can’t wait.
– Written by President of Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology A/Prof. Thomas Tu (Westmead Institute for Medical Research, The University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital, Sydney)
About the Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology
The Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology (ACHV) is an incorporated body of biomedical scientists throughout Australia with the common interest of promoting and disseminating research
into all aspects of the hepatitis and related viruses.
For all enquiries regarding ACHV, please contact ACHV secretary Dr Chaturaka Rodrigo by E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (+6129065 2186).