» Hepatitis Delta: a serious viral infection unknown in France MyPharma Editions

Posted on Wednesday 22nd June 2022

» Hepatitis Delta: a serious viral infection unknown in France MyPharma EditionsAt the EASL (European Association for the Study of the Liver) Congress, June 22-26, Gilead Sciences is presenting the latest clinical data from the MYR301 therapy study and the results of a real-life study involving a French cohort treating hepatitis delta.

Infection with the hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is considered the most severe form of chronic viral hepatitis. As of September 2020, no approved treatment options were available in France. Thanks to the availability of Bulevritide (Hepcludex®, an HDV entry inhibitor) as part of the Post-Authorization Temporary for Use (ATU) system, French patients were among the first to benefit from an effective and well-tolerated approved drug treatment in Europe. Bulevirtide now represents a new hope in the treatment of hepatitis delta.

Hepatitis Delta, a misunderstood and still underdiagnosed disease

The peculiarity of the hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is that it can only infect patients who are carriers of the hepatitis B virus (HBV)1. In France, the proportion of HBV patients who could be infected with HDV is estimated at 5%. However, this number is likely underestimated due to the lack of systematic screening2.
Hepatitis delta is often asymptomatic, silent, but it is a serious disease that progresses rapidly. In fact, the majority of patients are, on average, at risk of developing cirrhosis within 5 years and hepatocellular carcinoma within 10 years3. Systematic screening of all patients carrying the HBs antigen is recommended by the AFEF (French Association for Liver Studies).

“Regarding the diagnosis of hepatitis delta, there is a real public health problem in France: only 1,500 patients have been identified, while 5,000 people would be affected4. Official recommendations call for screening for hepatitis delta virus in all patients who test positive for hepatitis B virus infection. We are committed to helping improve care for affected patients because we have an effective and well-tolerated treatment against this infectious disease feature pathology. emphasizes Cécile Rabian, Medical Director, Gilead France.

Epidemiology: an important topic for awareness and screening

Some populations at risk of hepatitis delta infection are difficult to reach and monitor. In fact, the profiles particularly affected by VHD are: migrant populations, intravenous drug users (IDU), men who have sex with men (MSM), and people who have sex with a partner infected with HBV and HDV2.

It should be noted that migration from countries with high HDV prevalence to countries with low prevalence can have implications for the epidemiology of the host country.
In France, HDV infection is mainly associated with patients from high- and moderate-endemic countries (sub-Saharan Africa and southern and eastern Europe) living in France5.

A route of transmission identical to that of hepatitis B

Hepatitis delta, like hepatitis B, is transmitted by sexual transmission, blood transmission (contact with blood, a wound from an infected person, sharing syringe needles, or contact with contaminated sharps or sharps), and mother-to-child transmission6.

France, along with Gilead, a pioneer in treating viral hepatitis D

Thanks to Hepcludex® (bulevirtide), the first and only treatment approved for the treatment of chronic compensated delta hepatitis, France is the first country in terms of the number of patients treated, ahead of Germany, Austria and more recently Italy and Greece.

Gilead has had a strong commitment to fighting hepatitis B since the 2000s, with the deployment of Hespera and Viread, then hepatitis C, with 4 Direct Action Antivirals (DAAs), and today continues its commitment to treating delta viral hepatitis the recent continued acquisition of MYR GmbH, which holds conditional marketing authorization (MA) for Hepcludex® (bulevirtide), the first and only drug approved for the treatment of chronic delta hepatitis


1 World Health Organization. Hepatitis D factsheet available at
2 Asselah T. Hepatitis Delta: State of the Art and New Therapeutic Perspectives Available
3 Miao Z, et al. Estimation of the global prevalence, disease course and clinical outcome of Hepatitis Delta
viral infection. J Infect Dis 2020;221:1677-87
4 DELTAVIR or Godien study Hepatitis delta virus infection. French dates BEH 19.-20. June 2015
5 Delta Hepatitis: Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Natural History and Treatments Delta Hepatitis: Epidemiology,
Diagnosis, natural history, and treatment Loureiro D, Castelnau C, CMBed, Asselah T
6 CDC. Hepatitis D Questions and Answers for Healthcare Professionals. Available at: https://cdc.gov/. Consulted on 03
May 22

Source and imagery: Gilead Sciences

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