Dionne-Odom receives $2 million R01 grant to study hepatitis B transmission to newborns

A grant from the NICHD will help study hepatitis B transmission in African newborns.

Head shot of Dr, Jodie Dionne-Odom, MD (Assistant Professor, Infectious Diseases) in white medical jacket (2013).Jodie Dionne-Odom, M.D.Jodie Dionne-Odom, M.D., associate director of Global Health in the Center for Women’s Reproductive Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been awarded a $2 million, five-year R01 grant from The NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study hepatitis B viral transmission from mother to baby.  

The grant will fund the REVERT-B (Reducing Vertical Transmission of Hepatitis B in Africa) clinical trial, which is designed to test a new strategy of using antiviral medication in high-risk pregnant women and newborns to reduce the risk of hepatitis B transmission during the birth and delivery process.

The study — based in Cameroon, Africa — will measure efficacy, safety, tolerability and adherence to the medication. 

“In sub-Saharan Africa, hepatitis B virus is prevalent, and maternal hepatitis B rates are high,” Dionne-Odom explained. “Few women are offered antiviral therapy to treat hepatitis B infection during pregnancy, which can lead to transmission to their infants and lifelong infection. We hope we are able to work toward developing strategies that prevent hepatitis B transmission in these at-risk populations while improving health outcomes in women and infants.”