What should I do if I have an existing liver condition?
If you have a diagnosis of cirrhosis, have had a liver transplant or are taking immunosuppressive medication, it’s critical that you stay at home and shield yourself to avoid being exposed to COVID-19. For a full list of clinically vulnerable groups advised to shield themselves for at least 12 weeks during the COVID crisis, please see the following link.
However, if you are on antiviral therapy for CHB without established liver disease (significant fibrosis or cirrhosis), you should not be at any increased risk from COVID-19. In this case, you should continue to take your antiviral therapy and follow the advice for the general population; work from home if possible and maintain strict social distancing to reduce your risk of contracting the virus.
Notably, the majority of hospital and specialist clinics have made arrangements for antiviral therapy and other medications usually prescribed in these clinics to be prescribed in advance over the coming months. In some cases, medications will be couriered to patients to minimise hospital visits and potential exposure to COVID-19. In addition, routine laboratory tests and surveillance imaging will be deferred for many patients. Please liaise directly with your treating Physician to ascertain what plans are in place for your care during the COVID crisis.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, myalgia or a dry persistent cough, you should call NHS 111 immediately. Do not visit your local GP surgery or walk-in clinic. Instead, self-isolate at home and visit the NHS website for advice.
Where can I find up-to-date information about Coronavirus online?
It’s important to get accurate, up to date information about COVID-19, please see the Public Health England website. There are many fraudulent and inaccurate sources of information circulating on the internet. Therefore, it is critical that you obtain and share information from reputable sources like Public Health England.
About Professor Patrick Kennedy
Consultant Hepatologist & Gastroenterologist
Professor Patrick Kennedy is a Consultant Hepatologist and Gastroenterologist at Barts Health NHS Trust. Professor Kennedy’s work in viral liver disease is known internationally and he is widely published in the field. He has a specialist interest in hepatitis B virus (HBV) and liver disease in young people; he runs a dedicated young adult liver service at The Royal London Hospital. Professor Kennedy is the Chief/Principal investigator for multiple investigator-led and commercial phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials of novel therapies in HBV. www.drpatrickkennedy.com/