Clinical Immunology Research Center

Tbilisi, Georgia

Clinical Immunology Research Center

Tbilisi, Georgia
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Nasrullah M.,National Center for HIV AIDS | Sergeenko D.,Ministry of Labor Health and Social Affairs of Georgia | Gvinjilia L.,CDC Foundation | Gamkrelidze A.,National Center for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia | And 9 more authors.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report | Year: 2017

What is already known about this topic? An estimated 150,000 persons in the country of Georgia (5.4% of the adult population) are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). In April 2015, in collaboration with CDC and other partners, Georgia launched a program to eliminate HCV by 2020. An important strategy is the identification of HCV-infected persons and provision of curative antiviral therapy. What is added by this report? During April 28, 2015–December 31, 2016, a total of 27,595 HCV-infected persons started therapy, 19,778 (71.7%) of whom completed treatment. Among 6,366 (32.2%) who completed treatment and were tested for treatment response, 5,356 (84.1%) were cured of their HCV infection. The average number of persons who initiated treatment each month increased threefold from April 2015–May 2016, when treatment was limited to persons with severe liver disease, to June–December 2016, after expansion of the eligibility criteria to allow treatment of all HCV-infected persons. During the last 3 months of 2016, the number of persons entering the treatment program declined steadily, suggesting that identification and linkage to care of HCV infected persons in the country might be slowing. What are the implications for public health practice? The Georgia HCV Elimination Program has made substantial progress since its launch in April 2015; the country has demonstrated the ability to scale up HCV care and treatment services rapidly. Enhancing HCV testing and linkage to care and treatment services are critical to reaching the 2020 HCV elimination goal. Lessons learned from the Georgia elimination program can inform programs in other countries striving to eliminate HCV as a public health threat. © 2017, Department of Health and Human Services. All rights reserved.


Tsertsvadze T.,Tbilisi State University | Tsertsvadze T.,Clinical Immunology Research Center | Sharvadze L.,Tbilisi State University | Sharvadze L.,Clinical Immunology Research Center | And 6 more authors.
Virology Journal | Year: 2016

Introduction: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a serious health problem in Georgia. Methods: We conducted a prospective study to identify and characterize the natural history of recent HCV infection since very first days of infection. Recent HCV infection was defined as detectable plasma HCV RNA in the absence of anti-HCV antibodies. Results: A total of 7600 HCV seronegative blood donors and 3600 HCV seronegative drug users were screened for recent HCV infection. Among them 7 (0.09 %) blood donors and 10 (0.28 %) drug users tested positive for HCV RNA and were classified as having recent HCV infection. Of these 17 patients 4 (23.5 %) spontaneously cleared the virus by the end of 24 week follow-up. Five clinical forms of recent HCV infection were identified during the follow-up. Four patients had symptomatic disease, including 3 patients with jaundice and other clinical symptoms (2 of them cleared virus) and 1 patient only had other symptoms without jaundice. All symptomatic patients had ALT elevation. Three distinct variants of asymptomatic disease were identified in 13 patients: 9 patients had ALT elevation and none cleared the virus; 2 patients developed chronic disease without ALT elevation; 2 patients cleared virus without anti-HCV seroconversion and without ALT elevation; this form can be described as transitory HCV viremia. Conclusion: Additional studies are needed to define clinical and public health implications of transitory HCV viremia. Our study suggests the need for implementing nucleic acid testing of blood donors and key populations in order to more effectively identify HCV infected persons. © 2016 Tsertsvadze et al.

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