Treatment and Prevention (TAP) Study

April 2015

Dr Peter Higgs

Other investigators: 

Burnet Institute:
Professor Margaret Hellard (Principal Investigator)
Professor Paul Dietze
Associate Professor Mark Stoove
Associate Professor Emma McBryde
Dr Joseph Doyle
Dr Brendan Quinn

St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne:
Professor Alex Thompson (Principal Investigator)
Associate Professor Paul Desmond

Project description: 

The Treatment and Prevention (TAP) study is the first of its kind in the world. Using a nurse led model of care, people infected with hepatitis C will have the chance to be treated with new highly effective drugs - sofosbuvir and ledipisadvir. These medications have minimal side effects, hence the possibility to treat people without them having to attend hospital health services.

Study participants will be drawn from the SuperMIX cohort of over 700 people who inject drugs (PWID), who have been participating in research with the Burnet Institute for many years. PWID are at particular risk of hepatitis C infection and many have difficulty attending large hospitals or health services, hence the idea of providing this community-based treatment.

The TAP study explores the concept of ‘treatment and prevention’ (also known as ‘treatment as prevention’); treatment not only results in cure for the individual, but also prevents the spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV) to others. The study will assess if treating PWID in Melbourne for their hepatitis C reduces transmission in the community and whether it has an impact on the prevalence of infection.

The TAP study will involve more than 400 participants who will be followed up for two years. One hundred and thirty people will have treatment in early 2015; others will be treated at the completion of the study.