According to a new study, neonatal hepatitis B vaccination can significantly reduce the risk of liver cancer in young adults.
The findings are based on long-term outcomes from a controlled trial of neonatal HBV (hepatitis B virus) vaccinations that were conducted between 1983 and 1990 in Qidong, China. Neonatal HBV vaccination significantly decreased HBsAg seroprevalence in childhood through young adulthood. HBsAg seroprevalence is an indicator of hepatitis B virus infection.
In the study, 41 rural towns were randomized to the intervention (HBV vaccination for all newborns) or control (no vaccination) groups. Based on survey data collected in 1996-2000 and 2008-2012 on HBsAg seroprevalence, the researchers concluded that the efficacy of the catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was weak compared to neonatal vaccination (21 percent versus 72 percent).
The results also suggest that an adolescence booster should be considered in people who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers.
The findings appeared in the journal, PLOS Medicine.