Hepatitis Delta (or Hepatitis D) is caused by infection with HDV and is considered to be one of the most severe forms of viral hepatitis in humans.

Image/ Pearson Scott Foresman via wikimedia commons
Image/ Pearson Scott Foresman via wikimedia commons

On Monday, at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) in Chicago, Illinois, Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Inc., announced HDV/HBV co-infection prevalence data from an International Classification of Diseases (ICD) analysis.

Results from two longitudinal patient databases showed a consistently growing number of newly diagnosed HDV patients in the US and a markedly higher than previously estimated incidence of HDV co-infection among chronic HBV patients in the US.

“Hepatitis Delta is the most aggressive form of viral hepatitis, and due to the absence of an approved therapy, testing for hepatitis delta infection has been limited historically,” said Eduardo B. Martins, MD, DPhil, Senior Vice President of Liver and Infectious Diseases Development at Eiger.  “Results from this ICD-10 analysis indicate that only 4.7% of chronic HBV patients are tested for HDV co-infection, even though this represents a 30% increase in HDV testing in 2016 versus 2012.  Our data support the need for increasing awareness and diagnosis of hepatitis delta infection.”

Conclusions from this US-specific assessment of ICD medical claims:

  • More than 11.8% of patients with chronic HBV may be co-infected with HDV.
  • Only 4.7% of chronic HBV patients are tested for HDV co-infection.
  • Even a small increase in HDV testing among chronic HBV patients has yielded significant increases in the numbers of detected HDV/HBV co-infection cases in the US.
  • Given the propensity for HDV to cluster geographically, it is important for clinicians to be aware of the growing footprint associated with the HDV patient population and the potential for undiagnosed HDV cases.
  • These data support the need for increased HDV testing among chronic HBV patients. HDV testing is readily available through commercial laboratories in the US.

Hepatitis delta occurs only as a co-infection in individuals harboring the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) where an estimated 257 million people are infected with HBV worldwide.  Hepatitis delta leads to more severe liver disease than HBV alone and is associated with accelerated liver fibrosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.  Hepatitis delta is a disease with a significant impact on global health, which may affect up to approximately 15-20 million people worldwide.  The prevalence of HDV varies among different parts of the world.  Globally, HDV infection is reported to be present in approximately 4.3% to 5.7% of chronic Hepatitis B carriers.

  • Martins, EB and Glenn, JS; Poster: “Prevalence of Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) Infection in the United States: Results from an ICD-10 Review”.