Expanding our Partnership with the CDC to Protect Pregnant Women and Newborns from Hepatitis
Last year, our Research and Development team was called on by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a more effective screen for hepatitis C, a chronic blood-borne infection that was going undetected in large numbers of “baby boomers.” Swift action led to a one-time test now covered by Medicare and Medicaid that will help protect 3.2 million Americans against outcomes like liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer and even death.
That successful collaboration inspired the CDC to expand its partnership with Quest this year, asking us to help identify other groups at risk from four additional strains of viral hepatitis and enable them to be screened and treated. We were asked to focus especially on pregnant women because about 40 percent of untreated newborns infected with hepatitis B in utero will develop chronic hepatitis, and one in four of those will die from liver disease.
Led by Rick Pesano, MD, PhD, Vice President, Research and Development and Medical Director, Infectious Diseases, the Quest team is analyzing our national testing database and identifying ways to characterize these de-identified patients by demographics and type of physician. The agreement—the first fee-based contract for hepatitis-related research awarded by the CDC to a diagnostic information services provider—will promote better outcomes for 4.4 million Americans.