- Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer and mainly affects people in low- and middle-income countries.
- Recommendations currently suggest that women and girls need multiple doses of an HPV vaccine for it to be effective.
- In the present study, the researchers found that a single dose of an HPV vaccine was as effective as a multi-dose vaccine.
A single-dose human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine may be as effective as the three-dose regimen that’s the current standard, a new study in Africa has found.
The study, published in NEJM proofcould help accelerate female vaccination rates against the virus and reduce its effectiveness at the population level.
According to the
HPV – and in particular its serotypes 16 and 18 – account for 50% of high-grade cervical pre-cancer.
Currently, women and girls can be vaccinated against HPV, but acc
The need for multiple doses is slowing vaccination rates in women and girls. This is particularly the case in low- and middle-income countries, where there is less infrastructure and less money to enable rapid and widespread vaccination.
Researchers have found that as more people get vaccinated, the spread of HPV is reduced at the population level.
According to WHO Deputy Director-General Dr. Princess Nothemba (Nono) Simelela, the results of the new study could help eliminate cervical cancer.
“I firmly believe that eliminating cervical cancer is possible,” says Dr. Simelela.
“In 2020 the
The randomized, controlled study involved 2,275 women and girls between the ages of 15 and 20.
Requirements included being negative for the human immunodeficiency virus, being sexually active, having no more than five sexual partners in their lifetime, and not having been previously vaccinated against HPV.
The participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups.
The researchers found that single doses of both the bivalent and non-avalent vaccines were 97.5% effective against HPV 16 and 18 at 18 months.
dr Ruanne Barnabas — chief of the infectious diseases unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and the study’s lead investigator — says that “the effectiveness of a single dose was the same as that of multiple doses.”
dr Cravioto says that “SAGE urges all countries to adopt HPV vaccines and prioritize catching up on missed and older girl cohorts through multiple age groups.”
“These recommendations will enable more girls and women to get vaccinated and thus prevent them from developing cervical cancer and all its consequences over the course of their lives.”
While the evidence for a new single-dose regimen is exciting, it will also require political and economic support for low- and middle-income countries to realize its potential.
dr Simelela says, “We need political commitment complemented by equitable pathways for HPV vaccine accessibility. Not doing so is an injustice to the generation of girls and young women who may be at risk for cervical cancer.”
“The option for a single dose of the vaccine is less expensive, less resource intensive and easier to administer. It makes it easier to run catch-up campaigns for multiple age groups, reduces the challenges associated with finding girls for their second dose, and allows financial and human resources to be reallocated to other health priorities.”