• Congo’s Ebola epidemic—a failed response and the need for a reset

      Huster, K; Healy, J (BMJ Publishing Group, 2019-05-24)
    • Cost and cost-effectiveness of a real-world HCV treatment program among HIV-infected individuals in Myanmar.

      Marquez, LK; Chaillon, A; Soe, KP; Johnson, DC; Zosso, JM; Incerti, A; Loarec, A; Nguyen, A; Walker, JG; Mafirakureva, N; et al. (BMJ Publishing Group, 2021-02-01)
      Introduction: Over half of those hepatitis C virus (HCV)/HIV coinfected live in low-income and middle-income countries, and many remain undiagnosed or untreated. In 2016, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) established a direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment programme for people HCV/HIV coinfected in Myanmar. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the real-world cost and cost-effectiveness of this programme, and potential cost-effectiveness if implemented by the Ministry of Health (MoH). Methods: Costs (patient-level microcosting) and treatment outcomes were collected from the MSF prospective cohort study in Dawei, Myanmar. A Markov model was used to assess cost-effectiveness of the programme compared with no HCV treatment from a health provider perspective. Estimated lifetime and healthcare costs (in 2017 US$) and health outcomes (in disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs)) were simulated to calculate the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), compared with a willingness-to-pay threshold of per capita Gross Domestic Product in Myanmar ($1250). We evaluated cost-effectiveness with updated quality-assured generic DAA prices and potential cost-effectiveness of a proposed simplified treatment protocol with updated DAA prices if implemented by the MoH. Results: From November 2016 to October 2017, 122 with HIV/HCV-coinfected patients were treated with DAAs (46% with cirrhosis), 96% (n=117) achieved sustained virological response. Mean treatment costs were $1229 (without cirrhosis) and $1971 (with cirrhosis), with DAA drugs being the largest contributor to cost. Compared with no treatment, the program was cost-effective (ICER $634/DALY averted); more so with updated prices for quality-assured generic DAAs (ICER $488/DALY averted). A simplified treatment protocol delivered by the MoH could be cost-effective if associated with similar outcomes (ICER $316/DALY averted). Conclusions: Using MSF programme data, the DAA treatment programme for HCV among HIV-coinfected individuals is cost-effective in Myanmar, and even more so with updated DAA prices. A simplified treatment protocol could enhance cost-effectiveness if further rollout demonstrates it is not associated with worse treatment outcomes.
    • Diagnostics for filovirus detection: impact of recent outbreaks on the diagnostic landscape

      Emperador DM; Mazzola LT; Trainor BW; Chua A; Kelly-Cirino C (BMJ Publishing Group, 2019-02-07)
      Ebolaviruses and Marburg virus (MARV) both belong to the family Filoviridae and cause severe haemorrhagic fever in humans. Due to high mortality rates and potential for spread from rural to urban regions, they are listed on the WHO R&D blueprint of high-priority pathogens. Recent ebolavirus outbreaks in Western and Central Africa have highlighted the importance of diagnostic testing in epidemic preparedness for these pathogens and led to the rapid development of a number of commercially available benchtop and point-of-care nucleic acid amplification tests as well as serological assays and rapid diagnostic tests. Despite these advancements, challenges still remain. While products approved under emergency use licenses during outbreak periods may continue to be used post-outbreak, a lack of clarity and incentive surrounding the regulatory approval pathway during non-outbreak periods has deterred many manufacturers from seeking full approvals. Waning of funding and poor access to samples after the 2014–2016 outbreak also contributed to cessation of development once the outbreak was declared over. There is a need for tests with improved sensitivity and specificity, and assays that can use alternative sample types could reduce the need for invasive procedures and expensive equipment, making testing in field conditions more feasible. For MARV, availability of diagnostic tests is still limited, restricted to a single ELISA test and assay panels designed to differentiate between multiple pathogens. It may be helpful to extend the target product profile for ebolavirus diagnostics to include MARV, as the viruses have many overlapping characteristics.
    • Sepsis Kills: Suspect It, Recognise It and Be Prompt With Treatment

      Lang, HJ; Tasker, RC (BMJ Publishing Group, 2016-10-24)