Monday December 10, 2018

HPV Vaccines Are Effective, Especially For Teens

The Cochrane research pooled data and results from 26 studies involving more than 73,000 women across all continents over the last eight years.

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She noted that some campaign groups have expressed concern about HPV vaccines, but said this review had found no evidence to support claims of increased risk of harm.
HPV Vaccine i effective on teenage girls, Pexels
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Vaccines designed to prevent infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) are effective in protecting against pre-cancerous cervical lesions in women, particularly in those vaccinated between age 15 and 26, according to a large international evidence review.

The research by scientists at the scientific network the Cochrane Review also found no increase in the risk of serious side effects, with rates of around 7 percent reported by both HPV-vaccinated and control groups.

“This review should reassure people that HPV vaccination is effective,” Jo Morrison, a consultant in gynecological oncology at Britain’s Musgrove Park Hospital, told reporters at a briefing about the review’s findings.

She noted that some campaign groups have expressed concern about HPV vaccines, but said this review had found no evidence to support claims of increased risk of harm.

HPV is one of the common sexually transmitted diseases. Most infections do not cause symptoms and go away on their own, but when the immune system does not clear the virus, persistent HPV infection can cause abnormal cervical cells.

Drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and Merck make vaccines that protect against HPV.
A girls getting vaccine, VOA

These pre-cancerous lesions can progress to cervical cancer if left untreated. HPV is a leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and Merck make vaccines that protect against HPV.

The Cochrane research pooled data and results from 26 studies involving more than 73,000 women across all continents over the last eight years.

The researchers found that in young women who tested negative for HPV, vaccination reduced the risk of developing precancer. About 164 out of every 10,000 women who got placebo developed cervical pre-cancerous lesions, compared with two out of every 10,000 who were vaccinated.

Also Read: Cholesterol Can Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, Finds Research

Looking more broadly across all women in the studies, regardless of whether they had previously had HPV or not, the vaccines were found to be slightly less effective, but still reduced the risk of cervical precancer from 559 per 10,000 to 391 per 10,000.

Experts not directly involved in the review said its findings were robust and important.

“This intensive and rigorous Cochrane analysis … provides reassuring and solid evidence of the safety of these vaccines in young women,” said Margaret Stanley, a specialist in the pathology department at Cambridge University. “It reinforces the evidence that preventing infection by vaccination in young women … reduces cervical precancers dramatically.” (VOA)

 

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Philippines Loses Confidence In Vaccination After Dengue Crisis: Report

The report authors say it is vital that governments and global institutions do more to build public trust in vaccines.

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Philippines, dengue
Protesters rally at the Sanofi Pasteur office in suburban Taguig city to protest the drug company's deal with the government for the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, March 5, 2018, east of Manila, Philippines. The vaccine was administered to more than 830,000 school children and adults before being pulled from the shelves after new study showed it posed risks of severe cases in people without previous infection.. VOA
  • The ability to fight future pandemics could be at risk following a plunge in public confidence in vaccines in the Philippines, according to a report from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The plummeting trust can be traced to 2015, when the government of the Philippines began a large-scale dengue fever vaccination program after an increase in cases of the mosquito-borne disease.

An election in 2016 saw a change in government, as President Rodrigo Duterte came to power.

Then, in November 2017, the French company Sanofi, which makes the vaccine, called Dengvaxia, said it posed a risk to people who had not previously been exposed to dengue fever. If they later became infected, they could have a more severe case of dengue, according to the company.

Philippines concern to outrage

Most countries adapted to Sanofi’s announcement by updating guidelines and labeling. In the Philippines, public concern turned to outrage, which was fueled by a highly politicized response from the government, according to lead researcher Professor Heidi Larson.

“This was an opportunity to jump on the previous government for all their wrongdoings ‘Why did you get this vaccine?’ And it became an uproar and created not only quite a crisis around this vaccine, but it bled into other areas of public confidence in vaccines more broadly,” Larson told VOA in a recent interview.

The researchers measured the loss in public trust through their ongoing Global Vaccine Confidence Index. In 2015, 93 percent of Philippine respondents strongly agreed that vaccines were important. This year, that figure has fallen to just 32 percent, while only 1 in 5 people now believes vaccines are safe.

Philippines, dengue
Boxes of anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia are placed inside a freezer for storage at the Manila Health Department in Sta Cruz, metro Manila, Philippines.VOA

Risk of pandemic

“This dramatic drop in confidence is a real concern about risks to other diseases such as measles, on the one hand. On the other hand, too, Asia is ripe for a pandemic in influenza viruses to take hold, and in the case of a pandemic or an emergency outbreak, that’s not a time when you can build trust,” said Larson, who also cautioned that misinformation played a big part in undermining confidence in vaccines.

“The role of social media in amplifying those concerns, in amplifying the perception of risk and fears and their public health consequences, is dramatic,” Larson said.

Also Read: Researchers Busy Myths Surrounding Vaccination

Large-scale immunization programs are in the trial stage to tackle some of the world’s deadliest diseases, like malaria. Meanwhile, containing the outbreak of any future pandemic, like influenza, would likely rely on emergency vaccinations.

The report authors say it is vital that governments and global institutions do more to build public trust in vaccines. (VOA)