2 HPV Vaccines As Good As Three Shots

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According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. However, in the past 40 years, the number of cases of cervical cancer and the number of deaths from cervical cancer have decreased significantly. This decline largely is the result of many women getting regular pap tests, which can find cervical precancer before it turns into cancer.

-       12,280 women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer.

-       4,021 women in the United States died from cervical cancer.

Also, it is estimated that about 10,800 new cases of HPV-associated cervical cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. More black and Hispanic women get cervical cancer and are diagnosed at later stages of the disease than women of other races or ethnicities, possibly because of decreased access to Pap testing or follow-up treatment.

In the new research funded by the U.S. government, it has been found out that two doses of the HPV can offer as much protection as that of the three-dose-system being used today to prevent cervical cancer. This study was carried out with the data from the National Cancer Institute’s Costa Rica vaccine trial. In the said trial, about 7,400 women were involved. These women were given the HPV vaccine or a Hepatitis A vaccine. These women were intended to be given three doses of the vaccine, however due to some reasons, 20% of them only got one or two shots.

Four years after the said doses were administered, the researchers found out that those given with two shots had the same protection against cervical cancer compared to those who were given the complete three doses. In fact, even those who only got a single dose showed a high level of protection against HPV.

According to the researchers, “Our clinical efficacy data provide suggestive evidence that an HPV vaccine program that provides fewer doses to more women could potentially reduce cervical cancer incidence more than a standard three-dose program that uses the same total number of doses but in fewer women.” However, they also pointed out that further studies need to be conducted as regards the long term effect of those who had a single or couple of shots, against those who had the complete three shot regimen.

Cervarix, the type of vaccine used in the said research, is one of the two vaccines approved by the US FDA to protect a woman from two types of HPV, the types 16 and 18. These HPV types are responsible for about 70% of all cervical cancer cases each year, at a global level.




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