Drug may halt HBV transmission during pregnancy

Drug may halt HBV transmission during pregnancy.
Drug may halt HBV transmission during pregnancy. | Courtesy of standford.edu

A study published in the June issue of the American Gastroenterological Association's Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology shows that telbivudine, an antiviral drug, may stop the transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) from the mother to the infant during pregnancy.

The study involved 350 pregnant women with HBV. All of the women showed high viral loads of HBV within their bloodstreams during their second or third trimesters. The researchers administered 600 mg of telbivudine each day to 279 women throughout weeks 24 to 32. The remaining 171 women stated they were unwilling to accept antiviral drugs, so they participated as the control subjects.

Six months after the children were born, the mothers who received telbivudine had babies who did not test positive for HBV. In the control group, where the mothers did not receive the antiviral drug, 14.7 percent of the children tested positive for HBV.

"If we are to decrease the global burden of hepatitis B, we need to start by addressing mother-to-infant transmission, which is the primary pathway of HBV infection," Study Author from the Institute for Infectious Diseases at Southwest Hospital in Chongqing, China, Yuming Wang said. "We found that telbivudine not only eliminated vertical transmission of HBV from pregnant women to theirs infants, but that it is also safe and well tolerated by women and infants."

Organizations in this Story

American Gastroenterological Association

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