Mississauga, ON, March 14, 2018 – In support of Canada’s commitment to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of eliminating chronic hepatitis C infection by 2030, Gilead Sciences Canada, Inc. (Gilead Canada) today announced a series of grants to support screening and linkage to care projects across Canada. These initiatives will focus on hepatitis C screening within high-risk patient populations and linking diagnosed patients to care. In total, 13 Hepatitis C Micro-Elimination Grants have been awarded to projects to be conducted among targeted high-risk populations including immigrants, prisoners, First Nations, people with HIV infection, and people who inject drugs.
“Gilead Canada recognizes that it will take more than science to eliminate the burden of hepatitis C on patients, our health system and Canadian society as a whole,” said Kennet Brysting, General Manager of Gilead Canada. “Together with our grant recipients, all of whom have a record of excellence in their work and are leaders in their fields, we can take collective steps to help work towards the realization of the WHO goal of hepatitis C elimination by 2030 right here in Canada.”
One grant to The Ottawa Hospital Viral Hepatitis Program will aim to identify and care for people with hepatitis C who currently reside in a correctional facility, and then continue care after their release. The incidence and prevalence of hepatitis C in a correctional setting is high, and people with hepatitis C have limited access to treatment, or experience a loss of care once released. As part of the project, multidisciplinary professionals at a regional correctional centre will screen residents for hepatitis C and provide access to care. A model will be developed that can be replicated in other correctional facilities as part of the provincial hepatitis C elimination strategy.
“Today, as hepatitis C treatment with high cure rates across all genotypes is approved and publicly accessible, we must act now to identify patients and link them to care in order to reduce the risk of transmission, and ultimately, eliminate the disease,” said Dr. Curtis Cooper, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Ottawa, and Director, The Ottawa Hospital Viral Hepatitis Program, and leader of the micro-elimination project. “Elimination is a reality, but we need to identify unique opportunities to connect high-risk populations, including those in a correctional centre, with immediate health care services, and implement successful programs across the country, to achieve elimination goals in Ontario and Canada.”
Grant recipients were recognized based on their ability to demonstrate a plan to deliver new local micro-elimination projects focused on targeted, integrated and locally-based initiatives, in high prevalence areas or settings that increase hepatitis C prevention, screening, diagnosis and linkage to care.
“Gilead Canada is pleased to support these innovative and exciting hepatitis C initiatives and these passionate and exemplary leaders. We look forward to hearing the outcomes of the projects later in the year, and we hope that hepatitis C community leaders may be able to implement similar projects in their local communities across the country,” added Brysting.
Organization: Gastrointestinal Research Institute (Vancouver, BC)
Project Title: Hepatitis C Screening and Linkage to Care in an Immigrant Population in Greater Vancouver Area
Organization: The Alex Community Health Centre (Calgary, AB)
Project Title: Using Peer Navigators to Improve the Cascade of Care for People Living with Hepatitis C and Have Been Recently Discharged From a Penitentiary System
Organization: University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)
Project Title: Integrating Hepatitis C Care Into the Northern Alberta HIV Program
Organization: Ahtahkakoop First Nation Health Centre (SK)
Project Title: A Community-Based Approach to Hepatitis C Screening, Linkage to Care and Adherence Support for Patients in a Rural Saskatchewan First Nations Community
Organization: South Riverdale Community Health Centre (Toronto, ON)
Project Title: Integrating Hepatitis C Testing and Linkage to Care into a Supervised Consumption Site in Toronto
Organization: The Ottawa Hospital Viral Hepatitis Program (Ottawa, ON)
Project Title: Piloting the Integration of Hepatitis C Education, Screening, Care and Treatment Within an Ontario Correctional Centre
Organization: Centre de santé Pikogan (QC)
Project Title: Implementation of a Community-Based Liver Health Campaign to Increase Hepatitis C Education, Screening and Linkage to Care in the First Nation of Abitibiwinni (Pikogan)
Organization: Centre Sida Amitié (Saint-Jérôme, QC)
Project Title: Improving the Hepatitis C Cascade of Care for Vulnerable PWID/PWUD Patients in a Low Threshold Clinic
Organization: Coopérative de solidarité SABSA (Québec, QC)
Project Title: Hepatitis C Elimination in a Hard-to-Reach Vulnerable Patient Population in Quebec City
Organization: Clinique Caméléon (Montreal, QC)
Project Title: Increasing Hepatitis C Education, Screening and Linkage to Care Through Outreach to Vulnerable Patients in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Montreal Areas
Organization: Centre L'Envolée De Granby (Shefford, QC)
Project Title: Overcoming Hepatitis C Through the Scale-Up of HCV Screening and Linkage to Care in Residential Detox Centres in Quebec
Organization: Pavillon Hamford (QC)
Project Title: Integration of Hepatitis C Education, Screening and Linkage to Care into Residential Addiction Treatment Centres in Lachute, Laurentians, Outaouais, Laval, Montreal and Abitibi
Organization: Research, Education and Clinical Care of At-Risk Populations (Saint John, NB)
Project Title: A Nurse-Led Project to Quantify Hepatitis C Prevalence and Link the Forgotten Cases to HCV Care in Southern New Brunswick
About Hepatitis C in Canada
In Canada, it is estimated that 250,000 Canadians are living with chronic hepatitis C, with thousands of new cases diagnosed each year. It is also estimated that 44 per cent of people living with chronic hepatitis C infection are unaware of their status.[i] There are six genotypes of hepatitis C. Populations at increased risk of hepatitis C infection include: people who inject drugs; Baby Boomers born between 1945-1975; recipients of infected blood products or invasive procedures in health-care facilities with inadequate infection control practices; people with sexual partners who are infected with hepatitis C; people with HIV infection; prisoners or previously incarcerated persons; and people who have had tattoos or piercings.[ii]
About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Gilead) is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Gilead has operations in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California. Gilead Sciences Canada, Inc. is the Canadian affiliate of Gilead Sciences, Inc., and was established in Mississauga, Ontario, in 2006.
For more information on Gilead Sciences, please visit the company’s website at www.gilead.com, follow Gilead on Twitter (@GileadSciences) or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or
Karen M. Chow, National Stakeholder Relations and Communications
Gilead Sciences Canada, Inc.
[i] Public Health Agency of Canada. Report on Hepatitis B and C in Canada: 2014.
[ii] World Health Organization. Hepatitis C Fact Sheet. Updated October 2017.