The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will collaborate with Quest Diagnostics, the worldwide leader in diagnostic information services based on more than 20 billion anonymous test data, to identify new patterns for screening, diagnosing and treating 4 strains of viral hepatitis in the US, using the company’s national Health Trends™ database of anonymous clinical testing and hepatitis.
The main goal of this partnership is to build new diagnostic-based strategies that will help public health authorities develop and implement medical procedures, to reduce disease prevalence rates, and improve outcomes through earlier diagnoses and better treatment.
“Increased testing is critical to ensure that those who are infected with hepatitis receive life-saving care and treatment,” said Dr. John W. Ward, director of CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis, in the press release.
“Transforming data into insights to measure and predict behaviors and outcomes will be increasingly important as the nation’s healthcare system moves to fill gaps in guideline-based care,” added Rick L. Pesano, MD, PhD, vice president, research and development, and medical director, infectious diseases, for Quest Diagnostics.
Medical doctors and bioinformatics specialists from both institutions will analyze the data stored in Quest’s national database for hepatitis A, B, C and E in American adults older than 18 years. Researchers will then establish study designs and protocols to identify trends in frequency and clinical management of patients.
The CDC and Quest Diagnostics established an additional agreement to identify and find patterns among pregnant women with hepatitis B or C, and characterize them according to demographics and type of clinician. Approximately 40% of newborns infected with hepatitis B during pregnancy who are not treated will develop chronic hepatitis, and 1 in 4 newborns will die from liver disease.
According to the CDC, pregnant women should be tested for hepatitis B, and for hepatitis C if they are deemed high-risk. The agency’s Division of Viral Hepatitis, together with Quest Diagnostics and other concerned organizations wanted to establish hepatitis B screening as a standard procedure for pregnant women to improve disease outcomes in both the mother and her child. These proactive steps, according to Dr. Pesano, is the difference between a normal, healthier life, and a life-long liver disease.