Author(s): YM Thaung, CS Chasela, KW Chew, T. Minior , AA Lwin et al.

Source: Journal of Viral Hepatitis 2020;00:1–12.

Abstract: Access to hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing and treatment is limited in Myanmar. We assessed an integrated HIV and viral hepatitis testing and HCV treatment strategy. Sofosbuvir/velpatasvir (SOF/VEL) ± weight-based ribavirin for 12 weeks was provided at three treatment sites in Myanmar and sustained virologic response (SVR) assessed at 12 weeks after treatment. Participants co-infected with HBV were treated concurrently with tenofovir. Cost estimates in 2018 USD were made at Yangon and Mandalay using standard micro-costing methods. 803 participants initiated SOF/VEL; 4.8% were lost to follow-up. SVR was achieved in 680/803 (84.6%) by intention-t-treat analysis. SVR amongst people who inject drugs (PWID) was 79.7% (381/497), but 92.5% among PWID on opioid substitution therapy (OST) (74/80), and 97.4% among non-PWID (298/306). Utilizing data from 492 participants, of whom 93% achieved SVR, the estimated average cost of treatment per patient initiated was $1030 (of which 54% were medication costs), with a production cost per successful outcome (SVR) of $1109 and real-world estimate of $1250. High SVR rates were achieved for non-PWID and PWID on OST. However, the estimated average cost of the intervention (under the assumption of no genotype testing and reduced real-world effectiveness) of $1250/patient is unaffordable for a national elimination strategy. Reductions in the cost of antivirals and linkage to social and behavioural health services including substance use disorder treatment to increase retention and adherence to treatment are critical to HCV elimination in this population.

Keywords: HBV, HCV, HIV, people who inject drugs, sustained virologic response