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The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection
  1. Caitlin M Pley1,
  2. Anna L McNaughton2,
  3. Philippa C Matthews2,3,
  4. José Lourenço4
  1. 1School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2Nuffield Department of Medicine, Medawar Building for Pathogen Research, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  3. 3Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK
  4. 4Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr José Lourenço; jose.lourenco{at}


The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has resulted in a myriad of interventions with the urgent aim of reducing the public health impact of this virus. However, a wealth of evidence both from high-income and low-income countries is accruing on the broader consequences of such interventions on economic and public health inequalities, as well as on pre-existing programmes targeting endemic pathogens. We provide an overview of the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on hepatitis B virus (HBV) programmes globally, focusing on the possible consequences for prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Ongoing disruptions to infrastructure, supply chains, services and interventions for HBV are likely to contribute disproportionately to the short-term incidence of chronic hepatitis B, providing a long-term source of onward transmission to future generations that threatens progress towards the 2030 elimination goals.

  • viral hepatitis
  • SARS
  • public health
  • prevention strategies

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

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  • Handling editor Seye Abimbola

  • Twitter @c_pley, @pippa_matt

  • Contributors CMP and JL planned the research. CMP performed the research with supervision of ALM, PM and JL. CMP, ALM, PM and JL planned and created the visualisations. CMP wrote the first draft. All authors revised the manuscript.

  • Funding PCM is funded by a Wellcome intermediate fellowship; grant ref. 110110/Z/15/Z. ALM is funded by the NIHR. JL is supported by a lectureship from the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work.

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