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Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines for people with advanced liver disease features at International Liver Congress 2021

To date we´ve seen little in the way of research around the intersection of COVID-19 and liver disease and it`s our hope ILC2021 will provide much needed insights in the field.”
— Philip Newsome, Secretary-General of EASL
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, June 9, 2021 / -- Breakthrough studies on the treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Hepatitis D to be announced at the conference Tuesday, 8th June 2021 (Geneva, Switzerland)--The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on liver disease treatment and research will feature prominently in the press programme of the International Liver Congress 2021 (ILC 2021) being held June 23-26.

The congress is convened annually by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) and is expected to attract some 10 000 researchers, doctors, policymakers industry leaders and journalists from some 120 countries working in liver disease.

A number of key studies to be presented in the Official Opening Press conference on Wednesday, June 23 reflect the concerns of researchers around the increased level of alcohol consumption during the pandemic, which has been matched by rises in severe liver illness and death over the past 16 months.
At the same time, researchers are beginning to map out the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines for people with advanced liver disease. An Israeli study looking at the Pfizer -BioNtech vaccine will also be presented at the Official Opening Press Conference.

“To date we´ve seen little in the way of research around the intersection of COVID-19 and liver disease and it`s our hope ILC 2021 will provide much-needed insights in the field,” said Philip Newsome, Secretary-General of EASL and Director of the Centre for Liver and Gastrointestinal Research & Professor of Hepatology at the University of Birmingham.

A stand-alone cure for Hepatitis D has so far eluded scientists. Found in 2-3 per cent of people living with Hepatitis B, Chronic Hepatitis Delta, as it is also known, is the most acute of the hepatitis family and extremely hard to treat. A new study trialling the drug Bulevirtide to treat the disease will present interim results in the 2nd Official Press Conference on Thursday, June 24.

The well-documented disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people living with noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension also has researchers worried about the vulnerability of people living with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) to the novel coronavirus. The need to find effective tools to measure the disease and new drugs to treat the disease is more urgent than ever.

As a consequence of rising levels of obesity, NAFLD has now become the most common cause of liver disease in Western countries, affecting one in four people. In a proportion of people, NAFLD can cause progressive liver damage, and in some of cases it may even lead to the development of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. NAFLD currently accounts for one in seven liver transplants in the UK. In the U.S. it is now the most common indication for a liver transplant. More generally, liver disease is now the most common cause of premature mortality in the UK.

The search for new treatments for NAFLD has gained momentum over the past few years and the results of some key drug trials will be presented in the 3rd Official Press Conference on Friday, June 25.

“NAFLD is already a public health crisis in the West and we urgently need new therapeutics to reduce its burden,” said Newsome.

“If left unchecked, the annual predicted cost of NAFLD in Europe is estimated to be greater than €35 billion indirect costs to the health system, and a further €200 billion by way of wider costs to society.”

Further information

Media Registration: Accredited media can apply for free registration here:
Press Programme: The Official Press Programme can be found here:
All ILC 2021 Official Press Conferences will broadcast be live on Zoom for registered media.
Embargo Policy: Please note that the ILC2021 Embargo Policy has changed this edition -media representatives are asked to familiarise themselves with the new policy.

About The International Liver Congress™
This annual congress is EASL’s flagship event, attracting scientific and medical experts from around the world to learn about the latest in liver research and exchange clinical experience. Attending specialists present, share, debate and conclude on the latest science and research in hepatology, working to enhance the treatment and management of liver disease in clinical practice. This year, the congress is being held entirely digitally due to the global health situation.

About The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL)
Since its foundation in 1966, this not-for-profit organisation has grown to over 4,500 members from all over the world, including many of the leading hepatologists in Europe and beyond. EASL is the leading liver association in Europe, having evolved into a major European association with international influence, and with an impressive track record in promoting research in liver disease, supporting wider education, and promoting changes in European liver policy.

Michael Kessler
Michael Kessler Media - EASL Media relations
+34 655 79 26 99

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