People with hepatitis C may benefit from revaccination against hepatitis B after treatment

Recently published research from the University of Minnesota Medical School suggests that people with hepatitis C should consider revaccination against hepatitis B.The research was published in Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Previous research has shown that people with hepatitis C infection have a lower response to the hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine.

This research has broad public health implications for people with hepatitis infection. It is known that the hepatitis B vaccine is not that effective in people with hepatitis C. What was not known until now is that after treating hepatitis C, the hepatitis B vaccine appears to be more effective in this population. This is important because many of these people are still at risk for hepatitis B infection. “

Jose Debes, MD, PhD, associate professor, University of Minnesota School of Medicine and Public Health

Hepatitis C is caused by a blood-borne virus that causes inflammation of the liver. Currently, there is no effective vaccine for hepatitis C. Approximately 58 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis C, and 1.5 million people are newly infected every year.

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

In this study, 34 patients who had not previously responded to the hepatitis B vaccine were tested for hepatitis B surface antibodies. The study found that after hepatitis C treatment, this group of patients had an improved response when they were reinoculated with the hepatitis B vaccine.

These viruses may have short-term or long-term effects. Having hepatitis B and hepatitis C at the same time increases your risk of serious problems such as cirrhosis or cancer. In some places, both infections are common and carry risks. Experts recommend changes in how doctors handle such cases and more testing to understand the timing and effectiveness of vaccinations.

The research team recommends that patients with hepatitis C undergo testing for hepatitis B immune protection. If not present, hepatitis C should be vaccinated after treatment.

Further studies are recommended to conduct this study in larger groups, evaluate the optimal timing of revaccination, and further understand the immune pathways involved in this change in response.


University of Minnesota Medical School

Journal reference:

Powell, J.G. et al. (2023) Revaccination of previously non-responders with hepatitis B vaccine after hepatitis C eradication. Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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