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.