Mathematical modelling of hepatitis B virus infection in Sub-Saharan Africa
Rachel Esra, University of Geneva
Globally, chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is responsible for a significant amount of morbidity and mortality relating to hepatic complications. HBV prevalence is particularly high in regions in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where HBV vaccinations and screening are often not routinely implemented. In SSA, the difficulty in managing HBV infection is increased by high HIV prevalence. Co-infection with HIV accelerates the progress of HBV-related liver disease although patients co-infected with HIV may be able to access treatment rapidly as the commonly used HIV treatment regimens include antiretrovirals effective against HBV. A number of mathematical models have been developed to better understand the progression of HBV infection and evaluate long-term outcomes and the cost-effectiveness of different interventions. Currently none of these models have been parameterised to the specifics of the HBV epidemic in SSA with high rates of HIV-coinfection and early childhood horizontal transmission. This projects aims to broaden the knowledge base by developing a mathematical model of disease progression for HBV infection in SSA. The primary objective is to develop a mathematical model to estimate the effects different interventions will have on the progression of liver disease including the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients chronically infected with HBV in SSA.
Keywords: Mathematical modelling, Hepatitis B, Epidemiology
Between 2016 – 2018, Rachel completed a dual Masters in Clinical Science and Immunology and a Masters in Public Health with a focus on Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Cape Town. After graduating, Rachel completed a Global Health Internship with the strategic information unit of the South African Mission of USAID and continued to work in this capacity as a consultant for the Panagora Group providing technical assistance for the USAID/South Africa's Health Office. Rachel is passionate about evidence based research intending to make a sustainable impact on health outcomes in the developing world and will be completing her PhD at the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva.