Contact: Peter Patterson
(202) 835-8718
800-892-1400 ext. 1718
Email: ppatterson@aacc.org

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Washington, DC – November 10, 2011 The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) announces a webinar, Current Issues in Hepatitis Testing, to take place December 21, 2011 at 2:00pm Eastern. The webinar will last 90 minutes.

Chronic infection with Hepatitis B virus (HBV) affects 350 million people worldwide. In the US alone, approximately one million people suffer with chronic HBV infection. There are some 43,000 new cases each year and 5,000 deaths annually from the disease or its complications. Roughly one healthcare worker dies each day from Hepatitis B. Clinicians have a complicated array of assay choices to detect HBV and to monitor treatment. Currently, a workup for HBV can include tests to determine the presence of an active infection, to determine immunity, to gauge whether a patient has a chronic infection or is recovering from an acute infection, to determine the likelihood that a patient will spread HBV to others, and to measure how much HBV DNA is in a patient’s blood. The newest HBV blood test under evaluation is the quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) assay, which may offer another option for early detection of HBV infection and monitoring patients with a history of infection.

Likewise, emerging therapies for hepatitis C virus (HCV) will dictate new testing algorithms for monitoring treatment in infected patients. Our program faculty will look at new protease inhibitors that are expected to transform the treatment of hepatitis C, resulting in more viral load testing and molecular testing in the HCV arena.

The expert panel for the webinar is Robert Gish, MD, Chief of Hepatology, The University of California, San Diego and Co-Director, The Center for Hepatobiliary Disease & Abdominal Transplantation (CHAT), San Diego, CA, and Mitchell Shiffman, MD, Medical Director, The Liver Institute of Virginia, Bon Secours Virginia Health System, Newport News, VA. The webinar will be moderated by D. Robert Dufour, MD, DABP, Emeritus Professor of Pathology, George Washington University Medical Center, and Consultant, Pathology & Hepatology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC.

The panel will address a number of issues, including what the data indicate about the role new quantitative hepatitis b surface antigen assays may play in early detection and monitoring of HBV treatment; when HBV genotyping and HBV core/precore mutation tests should be ordered and how clinicians are using them; how to interpret hepatitis B e-antigen results for monitoring patient therapy; the latest information on testing for hepatitis delta virus (HDV); how to best use laboratory testing to monitor patients being treated for HBV or HCV.

Viral hepatitis is a major health issue in the US and worldwide. AACC invites journalists reporting on this to register for this timely and important webinar. To register, complete and submit a Press Registration Form. For more information about the webinar or AACC, contact Peter Patterson by email or on either of the above phone numbers.

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AACC is a leading professional society dedicated to improving healthcare through laboratory medicine. Its over 9,000 members are clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and others involved in developing tests and directing laboratory operations. AACC brings this community together with programs that advance knowledge, expertise, and innovation.