Hepatitis B re-vaccination can protect patients with Hepatitis C: Study

Kolkata: A healthcare worker prepares to vaccinate beneficiaries during the COVID-19 dry run for immunization activity in Kolkata. (File Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)
Patients with hepatitis C should check themselves for hepatitis B immune protection. Photo: IANS

San Francisco: Hepatitis C patients should consider re-vaccination for hepatitis B virus, suggests a study after a previous research showed low response among patients with hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is caused by a blood-borne virus that leads to inflammation of the liver.

Currently, there is no effective vaccine for Hepatitis C.

Globally, about 58 million people have Hepatitis C, with 1.5 million new infections each year.

Hepatitis B is a liver infection that can be prevented with the HBV vaccine.

The new study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases conducted on 34 patients who previously did not respond to the HBV vaccine were tested for Hepatitis B surface antibodies.

It was found that after treatment of Hepatitis C, re-vaccination against Hepatitis B among this group resulted in an improved response.

"This study has broad implications for public health in hepatitis-infected individuals. It is known that the hepatitis B vaccine is not as effective in those with hepatitis C," said Jose Debes, Associate professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

"What was not known until now is that after treating hepatitis C the hepatitis B vaccine seems to be more effective in this population. This is important as many of these individuals are still at risk for hepatitis B infection," Debes added.

Having both hepatitis B and hepatitis C together raises the risk of severe issues like liver cirrhosis or cancer.

Patients with hepatitis C should check themselves for hepatitis B immune protection. If none is present, they should be offered a vaccine after treating hepatitis C, the researchers said.

They also suggested research in a larger group to assess optimal time for re-vaccination and further understanding of immune pathways involved in this change of response. 

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