Publications by authors named "Pip Marks"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Sofosbuvir/velpatasvir for 12 vs. 6 weeks for the treatment of recently acquired hepatitis C infection.

J Hepatol 2021 May 20. Epub 2021 May 20.

St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia.

Background And Aims: Shortened duration therapy for acute and recent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been shown to be highly effective in several small non-randomised studies with direct-acting antiviral regimens, however large randomised studies are lacking.

Methods: REACT was an NIH-funded multicentre international, open-label, randomised, phase 4 non-inferiority trial examining the efficacy of short course (6 weeks) versus standard course (12 weeks) therapy with sofosbuvir-velpatasvir for recent HCV infection (estimated duration of infection <= 12 months). Randomisation occurred at week 6. The primary endpoint was SVR12 in the intention-to treat (ITT) population. A total of 250 participants were planned for enrolment. On advice of the data safety and monitoring board the study was halted early.

Results: Primary analysis population consisted of 188 randomised participants at termination of study enrolment; short arm (n=93), standard arm (n=95). Ninety seven percent were male and 69% HIV positive. ITT SVR12 was 76/93, 81.7% (95% CI 72.4-89.0) in the short arm and 86/95, 90.5% (95% CI 82.7-95.6) in the standard arm. The difference between the arms was -8.8 (95% CI: -18.6, 1.0). By modified ITT analysis in which non-virological reasons for failure were excluded (death, reinfection, lost to follow-up) SVR12 was 76/85, 89.4% (95% CI 80.8-95.0) in the short arm and 86/88, 97.7% in the standard arm (95% CI 92.0-99.7; difference -8.3%, p=0.025).

Conclusions: In this randomised study in recent HCV infection, 6 weeks sofosbuvir-velpatasvir did not meet the criteria for non-inferiority to standard 12 weeks duration.

Lay Summary: In this randomised trial one hundred and eighty people with recently acquired hepatitis C infection were randomly assigned to treatment using either a short 6-week course (93 people) or standard 12-week course (95 people) of the hepatitis C treatment sofosbuvir/velpatasvir. There were nine cases of relapse after treatment in the short course and two using the standard course. A shortened course of 6 weeks therapy for hepatitis C infection was considered not as effective as a standard twelve week course in people with recently acquired hepatitis C infection.

Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT02625909.
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May 2021

Evaluation of hepatitis C treatment-as-prevention within Australian prisons (SToP-C): a prospective cohort study.

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Jul 7;6(7):533-546. Epub 2021 May 7.

The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Limited empirical evidence exists for the effectiveness of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment-as-prevention. The Surveillance and Treatment of Prisoners with hepatitis C (SToP-C) study aimed to assess the effect of HCV treatment-as-prevention in the prison setting.

Methods: SToP-C was a prospective study, including a before-and-after analysis, within a cohort of people incarcerated in two maximum-security prisons (male) and two medium-security prisons (one male, one female) in New South Wales, Australia. All prison inmates aged at least 18 years were eligible for enrolment. After HCV testing, participants were monitored for risk behaviours and HCV infection, among three sub-populations: uninfected (HCV antibody-negative); previously infected (HCV antibody-positive, HCV RNA-negative); and infected (HCV antibody and HCV RNA-positive). Uninfected participants were followed up every 3-6 months to detect HCV primary infection and previously infected participants were followed up every 3-6 months to detect re-infection. Participants with HCV infection were assessed for treatment, initially standard-of-care treatment (administered by prison health services) from 2014 to mid-2017, then direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment scale-up from mid-2017 onwards (12 weeks of sofosbuvir plus velpatasvir, administered through SToP-C). Participants were followed up until study closure in November, 2019. The primary study outcome was HCV incidence before and after DAA treatment scale-up among participants at risk of HCV primary infection or re-infection. This study is registered with, NCT02064049.

Findings: Between Oct 30, 2014, and Sept 30, 2019, 3691 participants were enrolled in the SToP-C study. 719 (19%) participants had detectable HCV RNA, 2240 (61%) were at risk of primary HCV infection, and 725 (20%) were at risk of re-infection at baseline. DAA treatment was initiated in 349 (70%) of 499 eligible participants during the treatment scale-up period. The HCV incidence analysis comprised 1643 participants at risk of HCV infection or re-infection during longitudinal follow-up (median age 33 years [IQR 27-42]; 1350 [82%] male). 487 (30%) of 1643 participants reported injecting drugs in prison. HCV incidence decreased from 8·31 per 100 person-years in the pre-treatment scale-up period to 4·35 per 100 person-years in the post-treatment scale-up period (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 0·52 [95% CI 0·36-0·78]; p=0·0007). The incidence of primary infection decreased from 6·64 per 100 person-years in the pre-treatment scale-up period to 2·85 per 100 person-years in the post-treatment scale-up period (IRR 0·43 [95% CI 0·25-0·74]; p=0·0019), whereas the incidence of re-infection decreased from 12·36 per 100 person-years to 7·27 per 100 person-years (0·59 [0·35-1·00]; p=0·050). Among participants reporting injecting drugs during their current imprisonment, the incidence of primary infection decreased from 39·08 per 100 person-years in the pre-treatment scale-up period to 14·03 per 100 person-years in the post-treatment scale-up period (IRR 0·36 [95% CI 0·16-0·80]; p=0·0091), and the incidence of re-infection decreased from 15·26 per 100 person-years to 9·34 per 100 person-years (0·61 [0·34-1·09]; p=0·093). The adjusted analysis (adjusted for age, Indigenous Australian ethnicity, duration of stay in prison, previous imprisonment, injecting drug use status, and prison site) indicated a significant reduction in the risk of HCV infection between the pre-DAA treatment scale-up and post-DAA treatment scale-up periods (adjusted hazard ratio 0·50 [95% CI 0·33-0·76]; p=0·0014).

Interpretation: DAA treatment scale-up was associated with reduced HCV incidence in prison, indicative of a beneficial effect of HCV treatment-as-prevention in this setting. These findings support broad DAA treatment scale-up within incarcerated populations.

Funding: Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Partnership Project Grant and Gilead Sciences.
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July 2021

Patterns of Drug and Alcohol Use and Injection Equipment Sharing Among People With Recent Injecting Drug Use or Receiving Opioid Agonist Treatment During and Following Hepatitis C Virus Treatment With Direct-acting Antiviral Therapies: An International Study.

Clin Infect Dis 2020 05;70(11):2369-2376

Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Australia.

Background: In many settings, recent or prior injection drug use remains a barrier to accessing direct-acting antiviral treatment (DAA) for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We examined patterns of drug and alcohol use and injection equipment sharing among people with recent injecting drug use or receiving opioid agonist treatment (OAT) during and following DAA-based treatment.

Methods: SIMPLIFY and D3FEAT are phase 4 trials evaluating the efficacy of DAA among people with past 6-month injecting drug use or receiving OAT through a network of 25 international sites. Enrolled in 2016-2017, participants received sofosbuvir/velpatasvir (SIMPLIFY) or paritaprevir/ritonavir/dasabuvir/ombitasvir ± ribavirin (D3FEAT) for 12 weeks and completed behavioral questionnaires before, during, and up to 2 years posttreatment. The impact of time in HCV treatment and follow-up on longitudinally measured longitudinally measured behaviors was estimated using generalized estimating equations.

Results: At screening, of 190 participants (mean age, 47 years; 74% male), 62% reported any past-month injecting 16% past-month injection equipment sharing, and 61% current OAT. Median alcohol use was 2 (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption; range, 1-12). During follow-up, opioid injecting (odds ratio [OR], 0.95; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.92-0.99) and sharing (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.80-0.94) decreased, whereas no significant changes were observed for stimulant injecting (OR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.94-1.02) or alcohol use (OR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.95-1.04).

Conclusions: Injecting drug use and risk behaviors remained stable or decreased following DAA-based HCV treatment. Findings further support expanding HCV treatment to all, irrespective of injection drug use.

Clinical Trials Registration: SIMPLIFY, NCT02336139; D3FEAT, NCT02498015.
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May 2020

Hepatitis C virus core antigen: A simplified treatment monitoring tool, including for post-treatment relapse.

J Clin Virol 2017 07 11;92:32-38. Epub 2017 May 11.

The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Simple, affordable diagnostic tools are essential to facilitate global hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination efforts.

Objectives: This study evaluated the clinical performance of core antigen (HCVcAg) assay from plasma samples to monitor HCV treatment efficacy and HCV viral recurrence.

Study Design: Plasma samples from a study of response-guided pegylated-interferon/ribavirin therapy for people who inject drugs with chronic HCV genotype 2/3 infection were assessed for HCV RNA (AmpliPrep/COBAS Taqman assay, Roche) and HCVcAg (ARCHITECT HCV Ag, Abbott Diagnostics) during and after therapy. The sensitivity and specificity of the HCVcAg assay was compared to the HCV RNA assay (gold standard).

Results: A total of 335 samples from 92 enrolled participants were assessed (mean 4 time-points per participant). At baseline, end of treatment response (ETR) and sustained virological response (SVR) visits, the sensitivity of the HCVcAg assay with quantifiable HCV RNA threshold was 94% (95% CI: 88%, 98%), 56% (21%, 86%) and 100%, respectively. The specificity was between 98 to 100% for all time-points assessed. HCVcAg accurately detected all six participants with viral recurrence, demonstrating 100% sensitivity and specificity. One participant with detectable (non-quantifiable) HCV RNA and non-reactive HCVcAg at SVR12 subsequently cleared HCV RNA at SVR24.

Conclusions: HCVcAg demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity for detection of pre-treatment and post-treatment viraemia. This study indicates that confirmation of active HCV infection, including recurrent viraemia, by HCVcAg is possible. Reduced on-treatment sensitivity of HCVcAg may be a clinical advantage given the moves toward simplification of monitoring schedules.
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July 2017

Delivery of treatment for hepatitis C virus infection in the primary care setting.

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014 Sep;26(9):1003-9

aThe Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM) bEast Sydney Doctors cThe Kirby Institute, UNSW Australia dThe Byrne Surgery, Sydney eClinic 96, Orange fCowra Medical Associates, Cowra gAsquith Medical Centre, Asquith hHunter Pharmacotherapy, Newcastle iDr Doong's Clinic, Burwood, New South Wales, Australia.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility, safety and efficacy of treatment for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection through a primary care-based model for the delivery of HCV services in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

Participants And Methods: This observational cohort study recruited participants through seven primary care clinics in NSW, Australia, between November 2010 and June 2013. Patients with HCV genotype 2/3 were treated without specialist review, whereas those with genotype 1 required an initial specialist review. Treatment consisted of pegylated interferon-α-2a/2b and ribavirin. Sustained virological response and adverse events were evaluated.

Results: Among 41 participants (mean age 44 years, 73% men) initiating treatment with pegylated interferon-α-2a/2b and ribavirin, 90% had injected drugs ever, 16% had injected drugs in the past 30 days and 56% had ever received opioid substitution treatment. HCV genotype 1 and genotype 2/3 occurred in 17% (n=7) and 83% (n=34). Treatment was completed in 83% (34 of 41), with seven discontinuations [adverse event (depression), n=1; patient decision, n=1; lost to follow-up, n=3; virological nonresponse, n=2]. In an intent-to-treat analysis, sustained virological response was 71% overall (29 of 41), 43% in genotype 1 (three of seven) and 76% in genotype 2/3 (26 of 34).

Conclusion: Initiation of HCV treatment in the primary care setting is an effective alternative for selected patients and may contribute towards increasing access to HCV care.
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September 2014

CXCL-10, interleukin-12 and interleukin-21 are not immunological predictors of HBeAg seroconversion in HIV-1-HBV coinfection following HBV-active antiretroviral therapy.

Antivir Ther 2014 16;19(4):429-33. Epub 2014 Jan 16.

Department of Translational Medicine, Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale 'A Avogadro', Novara, Italy.

Background: Interferon stimulated chemokine CXCL-10, interleukin (IL)-12 (p70) and IL-21 have been associated with HBsAg and HBeAg loss following treatment of HBV monoinfection. The aim of this study was to determine whether these factors were also associated with HBsAg and HBeAg loss in HIV-HBV-coinfected patients following HBV-active combination antiretroviral therapy (cART).

Methods: HIV-HBV-coinfected patients with HBeAg seroconversion (n=12; seroconverters [SC]) were compared to patients who did not seroconvert (n=13; non-seroconverters [NSC]). CXCL-10, IL-12 and IL-21 (Luminex Bead Array, Life Technologies, Grand Island, NY, USA) were measured in plasma prior to initiation of HBV-active cART (baseline), at the time of seroconversion (T0) and at the closest time point before (T-1) and after (T+1) seroconversion.

Results: Levels of CXCL-10 declined significantly in all patients following HBV-active cART (P<0.05 for both SC and NSC; Kruskall-Wallis, Dunn's post-test). There was no difference between SC and NSC in the level of CXCL-10, IL-12 and IL-21 at any time point.

Conclusions: We found no evidence that CXCL-10, IL-12 or IL-21 were associated with HBeAg seroconversion following HBV-active cART. Other immunological determinants should be explored in this setting.
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May 2015

Assessment of HBV flare in a randomized clinical trial in HIV/HBV coinfected subjects initiating HBV-active antiretroviral therapy in Thailand.

AIDS Res Ther 2012 Mar 9;9(1). Epub 2012 Mar 9.

HIV-NAT Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre, Bangkok, Thailand.

Background: Hepatic Flare (HF) after initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in HIV-HBV coinfected individuals is well recognized but prospective data on predictors and subsequent outcome are limited.

Methods: The Tenofovir in HIV-HBV coinfection study was a randomized clinical trial of HBV-active HAART including lamivudine and/or tenofovir in antiretroviral naïve HIV-HBV individuals in Thailand.

Results: Early HF (EHF) was defined as ALT > 5 × ULN during the first 12 weeks. EHF was observed in 8 (22%) of individuals at a median of 56 days. 6/8 EHF cases were asymptomatic and resolved with HAART continuation, however one subject with underlying cirrhosis died following rapid hepatic decompensation. EHF was significantly associated with higher baseline ALT (79 IU/L vs 36 IU/L non-EHF, p = 0.008) and HBV DNA (9.9 log10 c/ml vs 8.4 log10 c/ml non EHF, p = 0.009), and subsequent serological change. HBeAg loss occurred in 75% of EHF cases versus 22% in non-EHF (p = 0.04), and HBsAg loss in 25% of EHF cases versus 4% of non-EHF (p = 0.053).

Conclusion: EHF after HBV active HAART initiation was frequently observed in this population. Timing of EHF, association with elevated ALT and HBV DNA and high rate of seroconversion are all consistent with immune restoration as the likely underlying process.

Clinical Trial Number: NCT00192595.
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March 2012

Combination HBV therapy is linked to greater HBV DNA suppression in a cohort of lamivudine-experienced HIV/HBV coinfected individuals.

AIDS 2009 Aug;23(13):1707-15

National Centre In HIV Epidemiology And Clinical Research, UNSW, Sydney, Australia.

Objectives: To determine if highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) with combination anti-hepatitis B virus (HBV) therapy compared to HAART with HBV monotherapy leads to greater HBV DNA suppression in an HIV/HBV coinfected cohort.

Design: A cross-sectional analysis of 122 HIV/HBV coinfected patients from Australia and the United States.

Methods: Univariate analysis and ordinal logistic regression were used to determine factors associated with an HBV DNA less than 100 IU/ml.

Results: The majority of patients were on HAART (85%), had an HIV RNA less than 50 copies/ml, a median CD4 cell count of 438 cells/microl, and had prior or current lamivudine therapy (98%). The majority (89%) of those on HAART were on HBV-active drugs including 54% on tenofovir (TDF) with either lamivudine (LAM) or emtrictabine (FTC), 34% receiving LAM or FTC monotherapy, and 12% on TDF monotherapy. Only 4% of patients in the combination (TDF + LAM/FTC) group had HBV DNA greater than 20 000 IU/ml compared to 54% in the group on no HBV-active therapy, 31% in the LAM or FTC monotherapy group, and 30% in the TDF monotherapy group (P < 0.0001). In an ordinal logistic regression model, monotherapy with either TDF or LAM remained independently associated with higher HBV DNA.

Conclusion: These data suggest that there may be an advantage to using TDF in combination with LAM or FTC in HIV/HBV coinfection, particularly in the setting of previous LAM experience. Continued prospective follow-up in this study will confirm whether the advantage is sustained longer-term.
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August 2009

Impaired quality of the hepatitis B virus (HBV)-specific T-cell response in human immunodeficiency virus type 1-HBV coinfection.

J Virol 2009 Aug 20;83(15):7649-58. Epub 2009 May 20.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV)-specific T cells play a key role both in the control of HBV replication and in the pathogenesis of liver disease. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) coinfection and the presence or absence of HBV e (precore) antigen (HBeAg) significantly alter the natural history of chronic HBV infection. We examined the HBV-specific T-cell responses in treatment-naïve HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative HIV-1-HBV-coinfected (n = 24) and HBV-monoinfected (n = 39) Asian patients. Peripheral blood was stimulated with an overlapping peptide library for the whole HBV genome, and tumor necrosis factor alpha and gamma interferon cytokine expression in CD8+ T cells was measured by intracellular cytokine staining and flow cytometry. There was no difference in the overall magnitude of the HBV-specific T-cell responses, but the quality of the response was significantly impaired in HIV-1-HBV-coinfected patients compared with monoinfected patients. In coinfected patients, HBV-specific T cells rarely produced more than one cytokine and responded to fewer HBV proteins than in monoinfected patients. Overall, the frequency and quality of the HBV-specific T-cell responses increased with a higher CD4+ T-cell count (P = 0.018 and 0.032, respectively). There was no relationship between circulating HBV-specific T cells and liver damage as measured by activity and fibrosis scores, and the HBV-specific T-cell responses were not significantly different in patients with either HBeAg-positive or HBeAg-negative disease. The quality of the HBV-specific T-cell response is impaired in the setting of HIV-1-HBV coinfection and is related to the CD4+ T-cell count.
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August 2009

Viral dynamics of hepatitis B virus DNA in human immunodeficiency virus-1-hepatitis B virus coinfected individuals: similar effectiveness of lamivudine, tenofovir, or combination therapy.

Hepatology 2009 Apr;49(4):1113-21

Infectious Diseases Unit, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

Unlabelled: Following treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection with nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), there is a biphasic clearance of HBV, similar to that seen following treatment of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and hepatitis C virus. Little is known about the impact of combination NRTIs and HIV-1 coinfection on HBV viral kinetic parameters following the initiation of HBV-active highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). HIV-1-HBV coinfected patients (n = 21) were enrolled in a viral kinetics substudy of the Tenofovir in HIV-1-HBV Coinfection study (TICO). TICO was a randomized (1:1:1) trial of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF, 300 mg) versus lamivudine (LMV, 300 mg) versus TDF/LMV within an efavirenz based HAART regimen initiated in HIV-1-HBV coinfected antiretroviral naïve individuals in Thailand. HBV DNA was measured frequently over the first 56 days. To fit the viral load data, we used a model of HBV kinetics that allows the estimation of treatment effectiveness, viral clearance and infected cell loss. We observed a biphasic decline in HBV DNA in almost all patients. We did not observe any significant differences in HBV viral dynamic parameters between the three treatments groups. Overall, median (interquartile range) HBV treatment effectiveness was 98% (95%-99%), median HBV virion half-life was 1.2 days (0.5-1.4 days), and median infected cell half-life was 7.9 days (6.3-11.0 days). When we compared hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive and HBeAg-negative individuals, we found a significantly longer infected cell half-life in HBeAg-positive individuals (6.2 versus 9.0 days, P = 0.02).

Conclusion: HBV viral dynamic parameters are similar following anti-HBV NRTI monotherapy and dual combination therapy in the setting of HIV-1-HBV coinfection. HIV-1 coinfection has minimal effect on HBV viral dynamics, even in the setting of advanced HIV-1-related immunosuppression.
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April 2009

A randomized trial of combination hepatitis B therapy in HIV/HBV coinfected antiretroviral naïve individuals in Thailand.

Hepatology 2008 Oct;48(4):1062-9

Viral Hepatitis Program, National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Unlabelled: Coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) is associated with considerable liver disease morbidity and mortality. Emerging HIV epidemics in areas of high HBV endemicity such as Asia are expanding the population with HIV/HBV coinfection. Limited randomized trial data exist to support current guidelines for HBV combination therapy in HIV/HBV coinfection. The objective of this prospective randomized clinical trial was to compare the strategy of HBV monotherapy with lamivudine (LAM) or tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) versus HBV combination therapy with LAM/TDF in antiretroviral-naïve HIV/HBV-coinfected subjects in Thailand. Thirty-six HIV/HBV-coinfected subjects initiating highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) were randomized to either LAM (arm 1), TDF (arm 2), or LAM/TDF (arm 3) as HBV-active drugs within HAART. At week 48, time-weighted area under the curve analysis revealed that the median HBV DNA reduction from baseline was 4.07 log(10) c/mL in arm 1, 4.57 log(10) c/mL in arm 2, and 4.73 log(10) c/mL in arm 3 (P = 0.70). HBV DNA suppressed to <3 log(10) c/mL in 46% in arm 1, 92% in arm 2, and 91% in arm 3 (P = 0.013, intent-to-treat analysis). HBV-resistant changes were detected in two subjects, both in arm 1. Hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) loss was observed in 33% of HBeAg-positive subjects, and 8% experienced hepatitis B surface antigen loss. Hepatic flare was observed in 25% of subjects.

Conclusion: LAM monotherapy resulted in a greater proportion of subjects with HBV DNA >3 log(10) c/mL at week 48 and in early resistance development. This study confirms current treatment guidelines that recommend a TDF-based regimen as the treatment of choice for HIV/HBV coinfection, but does not demonstrate any advantage of HBV combination therapy in this short-term setting.
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October 2008