Home Uncategorized A new HPV vaccine is effective against nine strains of the virus

A new HPV vaccine is effective against nine strains of the virus

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This new HPV Vaccine could help protect females AND males from a range of cancers. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is pretty nasty – not only can it
trigger genital warts, but if it’s not controlled by the immune system,
researchers have found that it can also lead to a range of cancers.

Most famously, various strains of the virus are involved in more than 99 percent of cervical cancer cases. But scientists have recently found that HPV can also trigger anal and oral cancer, and although current campaigns are targeted to young women, both males and females could benefit from being protected.
There are already two effective vaccines
on the market, Gardasil, which protects against four strains of the
virus, and Cervarix, which protects against two. But new research
published in the New England Journal of Medicine has revealed that a new vaccine, Gardasil-9, can protect against, you guessed it, nine strains of the virus.
A
randomised, double-blind clinical trial of 14,215 women aged between 16
and 26 found that Gardasil-9 can protect against five additional
strains when compared to Gardasil – HPV-6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52
and 58.
This means that the new vaccine could in theory prevent 90 percent of cervical cancers, compared to the 70 percent Gardasil currently stops. Overall there are 14 strains of HPV
associated with cervical cancer (out of 100 known strains), so being
able to protect against more than half of them is a big step forward.
As Cathleen O’Grady reports for Ars Technica, the new vaccine was also associated with more side effects than the current options, but they weren’t severe:

“In
the Gardasil-9 trial, the nine-valent vaccine was associated with more
side effects, but the effects were not comparably dangerous to the kinds
of cancers prevented by the vaccine. The slightly higher rate was to be
expected, the researchers note, because the new vaccine has more
virus-like antigens. The most common effects included swelling and pain
at the injection site, and some patients experienced headaches, nausea,
dizziness, and fatigue.”
 

Despite these side effects, it’s
hoped that the new uptake will be encouraged in both males and females –
something that’s important given how common the virus is.

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“The female-only campaigns leave men who have sex with men unprotected,” lead author of the paper Elmar Joura, from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, told O’Grady.
At
any given time, one quarter of Americans have HPV, and it’s estimated
that almost all sexually active people will be infected at some point in
their life. And if these infections aren’t cleared up by our immune
systems, they can lead to cancers.
The researchers are also hoping
that the new vaccine may help increase the uptake of the vaccine, which
in the US in particular is low, with only 33.4 percent of girls having completed the course of three HPV vaccines, compared to 60.4 percent in the UK and 71.2 percent in Australia.
While
a vaccine that protects against only some types of cancer may not be as
headline-worthy as a new treatment or a cure, it’s incredible that we
have a quick and easy way to protect ourselves against a whole range of
cancers. And even more incredible that not everyone who is able to use
it chooses to do so.
Source: Ars Technica

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