UTHealth Study Shows Alternative HPV Vaccination Options

UTHealth study suggests reducing HPV vaccine doses will increase access for women

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A new study from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas (UTHealth) supports making cervical cancer prevention easier for women.

This new UTHealth study published on December 27, 2019, revealed that just 1-dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine prevents potentially cancer-causing virus infections.

In an adjusted analysis, this study predicted the probability of infection with HPV 6, 11, 16, or 18 was higher in unvaccinated women (7.4%) compared with women who received 1-dose (2.3%), 2-doses (5.7%), or 3-doses (3.1%).

This new UTHealth study’s findings are similar to a separate study published on November 4, 2019, which also found reduced dose HPV vaccinations delivered positive cancer-prevention results in women.

That study found the adjusted odds ratios for HPV vaccine effectiveness for 1-dose (47%), 2-doses (55%), and 3-doses (74%).

While the results of the UTHealth study showed that a single dose may be as effective as the currently recommended 2- or 3-dose series, ‘it’s too early for people to rely on a single dose of the vaccine for protection,’ said senior author Ashish A. Deshmukh, Ph.D., MPH, an assistant professor at UTHealth School of Public Health, in a related press release.

Dr. Deshmukh continued saying, “If ongoing clinical trials provide evidence regarding sustained benefits of a one-dose regimen, then implications of single-dose strategy could be substantial for reducing the burden of these cancers globally.”

“The current HPV vaccine dosing regimen can be cumbersome for people to understand. If one dose is proven effective in trials, the vaccine regimen will be simplified,” added lead author Kalyani Sonawane, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor at UTHealth School of Public Health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends a 2-dose regimen for all children starting the series before age 15 or a 3-dose regimen if the series is started between ages 16 to 26.

Yet, current 2 and 3 dose vaccination rates are less than ideal, More than 50 percent of people in the U.S. are not yet vaccinated against this common sexually transmitted infection.

Furthermore, a new recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine committee is to 'prioritize cancer prevention in young women, ahead of young men.’ may not be needed.

This change announced by the WHO on November 22, 2019, is related to the apparent shortage of HPV vaccines, which have been introduced in 41 countries around the globe.

In theory, shifting to just 1 or 2 doses of the HPV vaccine would free-up more vaccines around the world, which could enable the WHO to rethink their new vaccine allocation decisions.

“Right now, we are under vaccinating teenagers and young adults with the HPV vaccine and denying them cancer prevention," said Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., FASTMH, FAAP.

"There are several reasons for this including the fact that the HPV vaccine is being specifically targeted by the antivaccine movement, especially in the US."

"However another reason is that it’s difficult to capture this age group in order to deliver multiple vaccinations. If a 1-dose vaccine still works it would be an important development, concluded Dr. Hotez, the author of several books, including Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 34,800 new cancer diagnoses are linked to HPV annually. This virus is thought to account for more than 90 percent of all cervical and anal cancers.

And a recent CDC study published in August 2019, reported there were more HPV related oropharyngeal cancer (12,600) cases than cervical cancer (9,700) during a 5-year study.

The latest generation of HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) can protect against nearly 90 percent of cancer-causing HPV infections.

The research was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (R01CA232888). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

HPV vaccine news published by Precision Vaccinations