Published on Fri Aug 27 2021

A novel model of care for simplified testing of HBV in African communities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain.

Camila A Picchio, Daniel K Nomah, Silvia G Araujo, Ariadna Rando-Segura, Emma Fernández, Maria Buti, Sergio Rodríguez-Tajes, Sabela Lens, Francisco Rodríguez-Frías, Jeffrey V Lazarus

The Hepatitis B Virus Community Screening and Vaccination in Africans (HBV-COMSAVA) study aims to use point-of-care testing and simplified diagnostic tools to identify, link to care, or vaccinate African migrants in Barcelona during the COVID-19 pandemic.

1
4
3
Abstract

Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major public health threat for migrant populations in Spain and efforts to scale up testing are needed to reach the WHO elimination targets. The Hepatitis B Virus Community Screening and Vaccination in Africans (HBV-COMSAVA) study aims to use point-of-care testing and simplified diagnostic tools to identify, link to care, or vaccinate African migrants in Barcelona during the COVID-19 pandemic. From 21/11/20 to 03/07/2021, 314 study participants were offered HBV screening in a community clinic. Rapid tests for HBsAg screening were used and blood samples were collected with plasma separation cards. Patients received results and were offered: linkage to specialist care; post-test counselling; or HBV vaccination in situ. Sociodemographic and clinical history were collected and descriptive statistics were utilized. 274 patients were included and 210 (76.6%) returned to receive results. The HBsAg prevalence was 9.9% and 33.2% of people had evidence of past resolved infection. Overall, 133 required vaccination, followed by post-test counselling (n = 114), and linkage to a specialist (n = 27). Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, by employing a community-based model of care utilizing novel simplified diagnostic tools, HBV-COMSAVA demonstrated that it was possible to diagnose, link to care, and vaccinate African migrants in community-based settings.