This vaccine protects against cancer – but not enough boys get it

That wouldn’t be the case It is an exaggeration to call the HPV vaccine a medical miracle.

“It’s like the gift that keeps on giving,” says Mark Jit, professor of vaccine epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Not only is it the only vaccine that can prevent cancer, “we’re discovering over time that it’s an even better vaccine,” he says.

Since its development and introduction in the mid-2010s, the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine in controlling cervical cancer has been remarkable. Over an 11-year period, cervical cancer cases fell in the UK 87 percent among those who received the vaccine compared to those who did not receive the vaccine. It is conceivable that one day an entire form of cancer could be effectively treated eliminated.

And the vaccinations don’t just protect against cervical cancer. They can also prevent head and neck cancer, vaginal, anal and penile cancer, and protect against genital warts in both sexes. But here’s the problem: Although these vaccines protect against cancers that affect both men and women, boys and men are not offered the vaccine in two-thirds of the countries where it is available. There, half of the people who could benefit are missing out on a potentially life-saving intervention. But that is starting to change.

When the rollout of HPV vaccines was first in full swing – and their price was still high – it made sense to target the most vulnerable group, says Jit, namely girls between the ages of 9 and 14. Therefore, the vaccines are clear decreased in price. Over the same period, the number of research findings supporting the benefits of gender-neutral HPV vaccination campaigns has increased. “From a social justice and equality perspective, it makes sense to vaccinate men And Women,” says Kit Yates, a mathematical biologist at the University of Bath. Failure to do so puts men at risk, and this puts the onus on women to protect men from HPV rather than share the burden.

A barrier to wider adoption has been in recent years uneven supply: As eligible groups increased, demand skyrocketed. Vaccine manufacturers couldn’t keep up and there was a huge shortage, forcing many low-income countries to forego them. But supply has increased again, and India – the world’s largest vaccine producer –debuted its own homegrown vaccine last year.

New research has done the same shown that just one dose provides sufficient protection, meaning the usual two-dose regimen can be halved and twice the number of people can be included in national rollouts. “Now we can start asking: Are there actually other groups that should be vaccinated?” says Jit.

A very common problem

HPV or Human Papillomavirus is the sexually transmitted disease for everyone. Between 80 and 90 percent of people will develop it at some point in their lives, typically through skin contact. Chances are good that you, dear reader, will catch the virus – if you haven’t already. Fortunately, for most carriers it will have no impact; You can be asymptomatic throughout your life.

But in a small proportion of carriers, HPV can lead to potentially fatal cancers; Of the approximately 200 types of HPV, many are carcinogenic. HPV becomes cancerous by sneaking into the body and burrowing into cells where it photocopies itself. Most infections don’t take root and your body fights them off within a year or two. However, some stubborn infections can persist and turn normal cells into abnormal cells, which if left untreated can lead to cancer.

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