Infection with Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can lead to liver failure and liver cancer. In Northern Australia, between 10 and 20 per cent of the Indigenous population is infected with HBV.

Our research focus:
  • To measure the disease burden caused by HBV infection in the NT
  • To use novel approaches to make testing for HBV and liver cancer easier.
  • To understand the impact of a novel HBV genotype on the Indigenous population of Northern Australia to improve vaccination and disease management strategies.
Our research impact:
  • Discovered a new genotype of HBV – HBV/C4. This genotype is unique to Indigenous people and its surface protein is different from other HBVs. We will conduct studies to determine whether the vaccine given to Indigenous infants is as effective as first thought.
  • Found high rates of liver cancer in Indigenous Australians, which are mainly due to HBV infection. It is possible that the HBV/C4 genotype is more aggressive than other strains.
  • In partnership with a remote Indigenous community, developed the first ever educational resource about HBV which is culturally appropriate and in Yolgnu language.
Key staff:
Collaborators:
  • Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory.
  1. Davies, J., Bukulatjpi, S., Sharma, S., Caldwel,l L., Johnston, V., & Davis, J.S.(2015). Towards shared understandings – the development of a culturally appropriate bilingual electronic application about Hepatitis B for Indigenous Australians. Journal of Medical Internet Research - Research Protocols, in press, accepted 17/04/2015.
  2. Littlejohn, M., Davies, J., Yuen, L., Tong, S., Davis, J.S., & Locarnini, S. (2014). Molecular virology of Hepatitis B virus, subgenotype C4 in Northern Australian Indigenous populations. Journal of Medical Virology, 86(4), 695-706.
  3.  Parker, C., Tong, S.Y.C., Dempsey, K., Condon, J., Sharma, S., Chen, J.W.C., Sievert, W., & Davis, J.S. (2014). Hepatocellular carcinoma in Australia's Northern Territory - high incidence and poor outcomes. Medical Journal of Australia, 201(8), 470-474.
  4. Davies, J., Littlejohn, M., Locarnini, S. A., Whiting, S., Hajkowicz, K., Cowie, B. C., et al. (2013). The molecular epidemiology of hepatitis B in the Indigenous people of northern Australia. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 28(7), 1234-1241.
  5. Davies J, Tong SY, Davis JS. (2013). Hepatitis D is rare or non-existent in hepatitis B virus-infected Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health37(2), 188-9.
  6. Carroll, E., Page, W., & Davis, J. S. (2010). Screening for hepatitis B in East Arnhem Land: A high prevalence of chronic infection despite incomplete screening. Internal Medicine Journal, 40(11), 784-787.
Click here to view more hepatitis b publications in PubMed.
  1. NT News | Hope to eradicate chronic Hep B

    NT News | Hope to eradicate chronic Hep B

    Date

    NT News | Hope to eradicate chronic Hep B

  2. Chronic hepatitis B elimination partnership launched

    Chronic hepatitis B elimination partnership launched

    Date

    A collaboration working to eliminate chronic hepatitis B (CHB) from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in the Northern Territory (NT) is being launched by NT Health Minister the Hon Natasha Fyles.

  3. Making hepatitis B information more widely available to Indigenous communities

    Making hepatitis B information more widely available to Indigenous communities

    Date

    Menzies is doing its part to ensure more Indigenous Territorians have access to potentially life-saving information about hepatitis B this World Hepatitis Day.

  4. Katherine Times | Making hepatitis B information more widely available to Indigenous communities

    Katherine Times | Making hepatitis B information more widely available to Indigenous communities

    Date

    Katherine Times | Making hepatitis B information more widely available to Indigenous communities

  5. Researchers go north to Alaska

    Researchers go north to Alaska

    Date

    A team of community-based researchers from Elcho Island made the long journey to Anchorage, Alaska to present their work at the World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Viral Hepatitis in August. For the three Indigenous researchers - Sarah...

  6. Chronic hepatitis B to be eliminated from NT | Katherine Times

    Chronic hepatitis B to be eliminated from NT | Katherine Times

    Date

    An important collaboration which will work to eliminate chronic hepatitis B from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in the NT has been established.

  7. Chronic hepatitis B to be eliminated from the Northern Territory

    Chronic hepatitis B to be eliminated from the Northern Territory

    Date

    An important collaboration which will work to eliminate chronic hepatitis B (CHB) from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in the Northern Territory (NT) has been established.

  8. Scullion hails Indigenous health funding

    Scullion hails Indigenous health funding

    Date

    NT Senator Nigel Scullion - "funding continues the Coalition Government's strong commitment to supporting the best health and medical research."

  9. Indigenous Funding Boost | NT News

    Indigenous Funding Boost | NT News

    Date

    Menzies will use NHMRC funding to boost health outcomes of Indigenous Australians through two projects.

  10. CRANAplus magazine | Alaska trip highlights global problem

    CRANAplus magazine | Alaska trip highlights global problem

    Date

    It took a trip halfway around the world for Galiwin'ku researchers to be reminded that all Indigenous peoples face challenges of viral hepatitis.

  11. Researchers at World Conference

    Date

    Community-based researchers Sarah Bukulatjpi, George Gurruwiwi and Roslyn Dhurrkay, from Galiwin'ku in the Northern Territory, recently spoke on viral hepatitis at the World Indigenous Peoples' Conference in Anchorage.

  12. CRANAplus magazine | From Elcho to Alaska

    CRANAplus magazine | From Elcho to Alaska

    Date

    A team of community-based researchers from Elcho Island, made the long journey to Anchorage to present at a conference.

  13. ABC online | Elcho Island researchers bound for Alaska

    ABC online | Elcho Island researchers bound for Alaska

    Date

    Three community-based researchers from Elcho Island working with Menzies School of Health Research are bound for Alaska to present at an international viral hepatitis conference.

  14. Elcho Island community researchers Alaska-bound

    Elcho Island community researchers Alaska-bound

    Date

    Three community-based researchers from Elcho Island working with Menzies School of Health Research are bound for Alaska to present at an international Indigenous viral hepatitis conference.

  15. Severe hep B strain afflicts indigenous population

    Severe hep B strain afflicts indigenous population

    Date

    INDIGENOUS Territorians with hepatitis B suffer from an aggressive strain of the virus not found anywhere else in the world, researchers from Menzies School of Health Research have found.

  16. Research reveals alarmingly high rates of the world’s second most deadly cancer in the NT

    Research reveals alarmingly high rates of the world’s second most deadly cancer in the NT

    Date

    A new study conducted by Menzies has found a very high prevalence of liver cancer in the NT.

  17. New app to improve treatment of Hepatitis B in remote Indigenous communities

    New app to improve treatment of Hepatitis B in remote Indigenous communities

    Date

    The launch of a new iPad app is hoping to address the prevalence and severity of Hepatitis B infections in remote Indigenous communities.