Quest Diagnostics is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify trends in screening, diagnosis and treatment of four strains of viral hepatitis in the US.
Quest Diagnostics will provide CDC researchers with analytics and access to its national database of de-identified clinical testing hepatitis data. Quest’s national Quest Diagnostics Health Trends database includes more than 20 billion test results.
The goal of the collaboration is to generate diagnostic-based insights that will improve public health authorities’ ability to develop and monitor medical guidelines designed to reduce disease prevalence and improve outcomes through earlier diagnosis and treatment. The agreement is the first fee-based contract for hepatitis-related research awarded by CDC to a diagnostic information services provider.
Quest is a leader in hepatitis diagnostic information services with services including genotyping, risk stratifying and viral load testing to aid diagnosis, treatment and monitoring. Experts from both Quest and CDC will analyze test results from the database for hepatitis A, B, C and E viral infection in adult patients in the US. Together, the teams will develop study designs and protocols based on Quest’s proprietary data-mining techniques to identify patterns in prevalence and clinical management of patients.
The agreement expands on Quest’s previous efforts with the CDC on hepatitis C testing for Baby Boomers, or those born between 1945 and 1965. In 2012, CDC issued recommendations for one-time lab screening for hepatitis C for Baby Boomers, since they are five times more likely than other adults to be infected with hepatitis C. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can cause liver cancer and death.
Under the modified agreement, Quest and CDC will work to identify and monitor trends in hepatitis B and C viral infection in pregnant women and to characterize these patients by demographics and physician type. Roughly 40 percent of untreated newborns infected with hepatitis B in utero will develop chronic hepatitis, and one in four of these will die from liver disease. According to CDC guidelines, pregnant women should be screened with a lab test for hepatitis B, but only recommended hepatitis C screening when other risks are present. Recently, CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis has teamed up with Quest and others to add pregnancy status to hepatitis B lab test orders to improve surveillance of infected mothers.
“The right screening and medical interventions can prevent the tragedy of lifelong hepatitis-related liver disease in children born to infected mothers,” said Rick L. Pesano, MD, PhD, vice president, research and development, and medical director, infectious diseases, for Quest Diagnostics. “We’re proud to work with CDC to assess trends in hepatitis B screening in pregnant women in order to identify gaps in screening and treatment, because it will yield insights that will help health professionals take actions to save people’s lives.”
Source: Quest Diagnostics