COVID-19 and HCV elimination effort
Tawesak Tanwandee, MD.
HCV is major public health issue and WHO has set the goal of HCV elimination by 2030. However, performance of WHO member states as before COVID-19 pandemic was far behind this goal. There were about 2/3 of member states had recognized this issue and just about 1/3 had funding, as the result, a few countries were in the tract of HCV elimination and the rest will require a few decades for to achieve this goal. The in early 2020 when COVID-19 started, this was totally unexpected without any knowledge to deal with this virus until a few months later when more and more countries started movement restriction. Many countries were hard hit by the COVID-19 and had put a serious healthcare stress and prevent chronic viral hepatitis patients to visit hospital. The pandemic moved from China to European countries then to the US and Latin America. This will be a long way before COVID-19 will be put under control. HCV elimination effort which already below expectation will be even less. There are many reasons including patient movement restriction and fear of hospital visit, limit advocacy movement, lack of healthcare resource and economic recession. The effect on individual country will depend on the impact of COVID-19 to healthcare system and economy as well as the performance and engagement of HCV elimination before COVID-19 era and the rate of recovery after COVID-19 pandemic which we do not know when. As we are responsible to the HCV elimination goal, one should continue and even increase engagement in elimination effort to get back on track as soon as possible.