Joanne Langley, MD: The Need for Hepatitis B Preventive Care

October 25, 2020
Kevin Kunzmann

The presenting IDWeek author discusses the implication of promising phase 3 data for a new HBV vaccine.

Last week during IDWeek 2020, data pooled from the CONSTANT and PROTECT phase 3 trials showed tri-antigenic hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine (TAV) was faster and more efficacious in establishing anti-HBV titers versus mono-antigenic HBV vaccine (MAV) across all its observed patient populations.

The data, presented by study author Joanne Langley, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology, Dalhousie University, provided greater promise for vaccination options against HBV—a very necessary venture given the field’s current inability to cure HBV index cases with therapy.

“We’re not close to (HBV) eradication,” Langley told Contagion®. “Like hepatitis C, there’s a carrier state for hepatitis B, and we don’t have a therapy where we can eradicate that carrier disease.”

Unfortunately, in regions of the world where chronic carriage of HBV is very prevalent, testing resources and capability lack behind, Langley explained.

“There’s this pool of apparently well people who may not even know they have hepatitis B carriage, and they can transmit to others,” she said. “And we have no way to interrupt that spread other than infection prevention and control.”

That makes these new findings for a promising TAV option all the more important, as the CONSTANT and PROTECT data will be used to support applications for regulatory use in prevention HBV.

However, more research may be warranted. Langley expressed interest in observing TAV’s prophylactic benefit for unique patient populations: immunocompromised patients, those on dialysis, and those with liver disease. She also hoped to gain better understanding of the immune response durability and length.

Watch the full interview with Langley in the video above.