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Quest Diagnostics Partners With CDC To Improve Hepatitis C Public Health Research To Promote Early Detection And Medical Intervention

MADISON, N.J., July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services, today announced a collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve public health analysis of hepatitis C screening, diagnosis and treatment, based on analysis of the company's national hepatitis C virus diagnostic information. 

The collaboration aims to enhance screening, diagnosis and medical intervention for the approximately 3.2 million Americans infected with hepatitis C, promoting favorable health outcomes. The organizations will primarily focus on individuals born during 1945 through 1965. Individuals in this "baby boomer" generation are five times more likely than other adults to be infected, and one-time testing, as recommended by the CDC in 2012, could prevent more than 120,000 deaths in this age group.

In June 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended one-time hepatitis C screening for all adults born between 1945 and 1965.

"Deaths from hepatitis C infection have nearly doubled over the past decade to now more than 15,000 a year.  Early detection and treatment of hepatitis C saves lives, but most people who are infected don't know it or are not being effectively treated," said Jay Wohlgemuth, M.D., senior vice president, science and innovation, Quest Diagnostics. "Our collaboration with the CDC underscores the importance of using diagnostic information to derive useful insights enabling effective prevention, detection and management programs for diseases with a significant impact on public health."

Under an agreement, medical experts, scientists and health informatics experts from Quest Diagnostics and the CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis will share access to de-identified hepatitis C test results, in a HIPAA compliant manner, from the Quest Diagnostics Health Trends™ national clinical laboratory database, which represents every state and the District of Columbia. The de-identified data, with names and personally identifying information removed, will include results of screening and confirmatory diagnostic tests as well as genotyping and viral load tests used by clinicians to manage treatment. 

Data will be evaluated to identify and track epidemiological trends in hepatitis C virus infection, testing and treatment, and evaluate how those trends differ based on gender, age, geography and clinical management.  The organizations may jointly publish results of their research, such as in peer reviewed publications and scientific conferences.

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