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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Harvard: Antiviral Drug Doesn’t Significantly Lower Risk of Hepatitis B Mother-to-child Transmission

The antiviral drug Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), commonly prescribed to treat hepatitis B infection, does not significantly reduce mother-to-child transmission of the virus when taken during pregnancy and after delivery, according to a new study by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and colleagues.

The study was conducted in Thailand, where rates of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B are low. Researchers tested TDF therapy in addition to the standard regimen of administering hepatitis B vaccine and protective antibodies at birth. The findings showed that the additional maternal use of TDF did not result in a significantly lower rate of transmission.

The study appeared online March 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study’s lead author is Dr. Gonzague Jourdain, visiting scientist in the department of immunology and infectious diseases. Other Harvard Chan School authors include Dr. Nicole Ngo Giang Huong, research associate in the department of immunology and infectious diseases, and Ms. Linda Harrison, biostatistician with the Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research (CBAR), and Dr. Camlin Tierney, senior research scientist with CBAR.

Read National Institutes of Health (NIH) press release: “Antiviral drug not beneficial for reducing mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B when added to existing preventatives“.