UW research: 1 HPV vaccine dose as effective as 2-3

Health

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – There’s big news on the HPV vaccine front as University of Washington researchers found that one dose might be all that’s needed to prevent the virus that causes almost all cervical cancer cases.

Researchers found that one dose was just as effective as the two to three doses previously recommended for protection against Human papillomavirus.  

The vaccine has only been around for 15 years, and girls can get it as young as 11 years old.

“The design of the HPV vaccine was based on the hepatitis B vaccine, which is also three doses, and so based on that similar design and because we want vaccines to be successful and also based on theoretical concerns as well we started with three doses,” Dr. Ruanne Barnabas of University of Washington explained. 

Barnabas told KOIN 6 News that this finding means that the HPV vaccine will be more readily available to young women and girls around the world which could save countless lives.

According to Barnabas, cervical cancer is “often diagnosed quite late, and the mortality is quite high. When it’s diagnosed late, it’s often spread to other areas.”

Barnabas said the vaccine has the potential to be the first to eradicate a cancer — one that kills hundreds of thousands of women every year.

80% of women who are 50 years old are thought to have HPV, and once you have the virus, the vaccine is ineffective.

“Some vaccines have a really big impact like hepatitis B and liver cancer but there are other causes. Cervical cancer is unique because almost all the cases are caused by this infectious disease so that would be very exciting,” Barnabas said. 

According to Dr. Barnabas, the next step would be the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices making an official recommendation for the one dose.

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