Matthews lab HBV Elimination Laboratory

South African protea

We are working to improve the evidence base used for developing strategies to tackle hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

 HBV poses a serious public health threat, with an estimated 300 million people infected globally, and up to a million deaths caused by the disease every year. International targets have been set for elimination by the year 2030. 

However, HBV has been neglected by funding, advocacy, education and research, and there are still many gaps in our understanding of transmission, persistence and disease.

Our group takes diverse approaches to translational HBV research. In the wet lab, we have interests in pathogen genomics, biomarkers, immune control, responses to drug therapy, and metabolic profiling of infection. Studies of clinical cohorts provide insights into real-world outcomes of infection, and opportunities to test and implement strategies for improved healthcare provision. We work on ‘big data’ to generate insights into outcomes of infection at a population level.

Working closely with patient cohorts and datasets from the UK, and with partnerships with collaborators in South Africa, Uganda and Kenya, we are recruiting adults with chronic HBV to study the different outcomes of infection, which include liver inflammation, cirrhosis and cancer.

Overall, we aim to use our interdisciplinary research to inform improved approaches to diagnosis, surveillance, treatment and prevention of HBV infection. Our goal is to support delivery of improved health for individual patients and to strengthen public health interventions, underpinning progress towards global 2030 elimination targets.