Vertical Transmission Of Hep B On The Way Out

Speaking to Gastroenterology Update, Professor Gane said the drug was successful in every case, with no cases of vertical transmission recorded and no specific toxicities in either mothers or children. Patients were given the drug in the third trimester and continued treatment throughout pregnancy until eight weeks post-partum. The drug worked even in one extreme case, where a pregnant Chinese woman with acute HBV developed liver failure and had an emergency transplant in her third trimester. She survived and delivered a healthy baby at 36 weeks. In this case tenofovir was given to treat active disease rather than prevent vertical transmission, but it did anyway, Professor Gane commented. Without tenofovir, there was a 10% risk of vertical transmission when the pregnant woman had a high viral load, even when babies were vaccinated and given HB immunoglobulin, Professor Gane said. This was probably because the fetuses were contracting the disease before birth, he added. Professor Gane said tenofovir had only started being used as a prophylactic to prevent transmission in the past few years, based on the results of large studies done in China. Those studies had also showed the drug was safe to use when the mother was breastfeeding. In Australia, use of the drug had probably prevented two to three hundred infections of newborns annually, he said. Tenofovir together with neonatal vaccination should eradicate hepatitis B from our communities.