HPV vaccine has major impact on reducing infections, cancer, study finds

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The findings show that cervical cancer could potentially be "eliminated" within decades, based on the study which showed a fall in HPV cases and in pre-cancerous growths.

Now a major study - looking at screening programmes involving 60million people in 14 countries - has found levels of the two strands of HPV virus that are mainly responsible for the cancer fell 83 per cent in girls aged 13 to 19 after five to eight years of vaccination.

Reductions of 48% were found in boys aged 15 to 19 and 32% in men aged 20 to 24 years.

Professor Marc Brisson of Laval University Canada says: "The landscape of HPV vaccination is rapidly changing, with several countries recently switching from three to two-dose schedules, gender-neutral vaccination, and a newer vaccine that targets more HPV types".

The HPV vaccine could one day lead to the eradication of cervical cancer, according to a new study that found the benefits of the vaccine "exceed expectations".

But it's still important to vaccinate boys to ensure maximum protection, Dr. Brisson said, adding that some groups, such as men who have sex with men, would be vulnerable to cancer-causing HPV infections if they weren't vaccinated. We don't have a precise date but we're trying to determine when it will occur'.

A significant decrease was also seen in anogenital wart diagnoses and precancerous cervical lesions which can develop into cancer. In such countries after five to eight years of vaccination, anogenital wart diagnoses declined by 88% among girls and 86% in boys aged 15-19 years compared with 44% among girls and 1% among boys from countries with single-cohort or low routine vaccination coverage. "It depends on the country and how much coverage and screening there is, and how many cohorts have been vaccinated".

Earlier analysis of studies for four years post-vaccination has also shown substantial decreases in HPV 16 and 18.

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A CDC panel on June 26 expanded the recommended age limit for the HPV vaccine to 45 in some cases, reports The Washington Post.

Women as old as 26 had been recommended to get a "catch-up" vaccination if they missed the shots in pre-adolescence.

"We sincerely hope this will boost public faith in the HPV vaccine, so that more lives can be saved and we get closer to a world where cervical cancer is a thing of the past", Robert Music, chief executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said. At the moment, the burden of cervical cancer is in women who were too old to be vaccinated - the vaccine is not very effective in women who are sexually active and may have already been exposed to the virus.

The doctors also argue that more than 90 percent of HPV infections are destroyed by the body's natural immunity, making the mass vaccination exercise pointless.

The higher the CIN grade, the higher the risk of developing invasive cancer. In 2018, there were 569,000 cases of cervical cancer worldwide and 313,365 deaths, 80% of which were in these countries.

An illustration picture shows a Gardasil anti-cervical cancer vaccine box displayed at a pharmacy in Strasbourg November 25, 2013.

He added: "We're lucky to have the HPV vaccination programme here in the United Kingdom, and this study supports the imminent rollout of the gender-neutral HPV vaccine".

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