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In March 2020 EASL launched the Hepahealth II project: a model to examine synergies between risk factors for liver disease and the impacts of potential interventions.

Hepahealth II is a mathematical modelling study quantifying the future epidemiological and economic burden of liver disease and the impact of public interventions to reduce liver disease in Europe.

Liver disease is a collection of conditions affecting the liver with increasing prevalence worldwide, and particularly in Europe. The recent analysis showed that there is variation across countries in prevalence of liver disease. This is largely the consequence of excess alcohol consumption, obesity, and viral hepatitis. Public health and population-level interventions can be effective in modifying behaviours, including reducing harmful alcohol consumption, controlling obesity levels and preventing Hepatic B and C levels. This in turn may lead to a reduction in the burden of liver disease.

However, the magnitude of health-related costs now and into the future, of specific interventions is not known. Public health policy modelling provides an important opportunity to quantify the future burden of liver disease as a result of changing trends in risk factors such as alcohol, obesity, and viral hepatitis. It also enables the impact of policy/population level interventions to be quantified over the short and long-term where traditional randomised controlled trials are neither feasible nor ethical.

The microsimulation method used for the study has been highlighted as the best method for risk factor and chronic disease modelling by the OECD. The value of  this approach is that it enables interventions to be scaled to the entire populations that wouldn’t be practical or feasible in a traditional randomised trial. For the first time, we’ll bring together behavioural risk factor and NCD model with a hepatitis risk transition model to more accurately model the long-term trajectories of liver disease.

The final report is expected to be published at the beginning of 2022.

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