Herd Immunity: The Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Is Protecting Even Those Who Don't Receive It

in steemstem •  last year

Today I am going to write a brief post to discuss the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. I will provide some background information about the virus itself, the complications which can arise from infection, methodology utilized for vaccination (how the vaccine works) and discuss some data recently published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, titled "Change in Human Papillomavirus Prevalence Among U.S. Women Aged 18–59 Years, 2009–2014."



Disclaimer: I will not be engaging in discourse with those spreading an "anti-vax" agenda. I will not be responding to your comments. I also reserve the right to flag comments spreading that agenda in this post. I will ask you nicely here, please do not use this post as a sounding board for your opinions on this topic. You are free and welcome to express your own opinions with out the risk for censorship in your own posts. Thank you.




What Are Human Papillomaviruses?

Human Papillomaviruses are a group of DNA viruses (viruses come in two broad classes, those with genomes made of DNA and those with genomes made or RNA). There are currently over 189 known types of these viruses [2], and unsurprisingly when you get that many there are also five sub genra in which the viruses are further divided (Alphapapillomavirus, Betapapillomavirus, Gammapapillomavirus, Mupapillomavirus and Nupapillomavirus). [3]

HPV love to infect epithelial (surface) cells. Epithelial cells are those which are on the exterior of our organs, blood vessels, mucous membranes, genitals...etc. They are the cells which come into contact with the outside world (they touch blood, the air etc...). The reason HPV has its name is because upon infection it can result in the formation of a papilloma which is a non-cancerous (benign) tumor, aka a wart (yes that's right! A wart is a tumor). Warts are not particularly harmful when they are growing on the skin. However the skin is not the only place where HPV can infect.

Another location where HPV infection is common is common is our genitals. It is the source of the sexually transmitted disease known as genital warts, which can be spread through skin to skin contact. During sexy time (risky click?) skin to skin contact this can result in the transmission of HPV to a woman's cervix. Warts which grow there oftentimes lead to development of cancer. In fact, it has been identified that HPV infection is actually a NECESSARY factor in the development of these cervical cancers. [4] (Meaning you are ONLY going to get the cancer IF you have the viral infection)

Furthermore, it is also known that cancer only develops from certain varieties of HPV (you can have lots of gross genital warts and not get cancer if you don't have particular strains). These HPV types include: HPV 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58 and 59. [3]. Further research has identified the most common of these cancer causing variants in women (HPV 6, 11, 16, 18, and 45). [3]. Another not so fun fact is that HPV 6 and 11 cause up to 90% of all genital warts in the first place! [5] This may seem like a lot, however it is this knowledge which allows scientists to know specifically what to target to be able to come up with a way to help the most people.

The HPV Vaccine

So knowing which strains of the virus are the most prevalent, we can come up with a way to ramp up the immune system to be better at fighting them off. We call this methodology vaccination, and for HPV there are a few approved vaccines Cervarix which provides protection against HPV 16 and 18, Gardasil which protects against HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18 and the more recent Gardasil 9 which protects against types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 (All of which you will note are among the strains of the virus which are KNOWN to cause cervical cancer). [5], [6].

But what is the vaccine? How is it made? These vaccines utilize proteins that are a part of the viruses's outer shell to generate immunity (through production of antibodies by our immune system).

In short, viruses are enclosed by a shell. If you look at the title image above you can see the virus looks like a sphere with bumps and such on it right? Those bumps are actually proteins, which when the virus comes in contact with our cells allows them to gain access. When our immune systems are trying to fight the virus it needs to identify the foreign agent as a bad guy, and it does this through generation of proteins called antibodies.

Here the antigen being targeted by the antibody would be the viral capsid protein

Antibodies work with a lock and key like mechanism where they only interact with a very specific other thing, say for instance, a protein on the surface of a virus!

So HPV viruses utilize recombinant DNA technology and artificial production of these proteins which are a part of the viruses shell. The proteins are then injected as the vaccine, there is no virus there, just some lab grown virus parts.

Actual structure of what an antibody really looks like

The immune system then can detect these parts and create antibodies against them.

If the parts provided are from the coat of HPV6, then when a real HPV6 virus comes knocking on the door the antibodies will be waiting and ready. It will try to come in and quickly be tagged for destruction by the immune cells.

Recent Data, Herd Immunity and HPV Prevalence Rates Among Women

In the study mentioned at the top of the article [1. The authors were looking at how the numbers of people being diagnosed with HPV infections have been changing. Spefifically they were studying changes which occurred during the years 2009 to 2014.

They found, unsurprisingly that there has been a continued decrease in the number of people being diagnosed with HPV who have received one of the HPV-vaccines in the 18-26 year old age group going from 3.9% of the population of the age group in 2009 to only 2% in 2014. People who are being vaccinated are indeed being protected against the most common, cancer causing HPV viruses. The remaining 2% likely come from viral strains not vaccinated against.

However, interestingly, they also observed some trends for NON vaccinated women in the same age group. For these non vaccinated 18-26 year old women the percentage of the population diagnosed with an HPV infection fell from 19.5% in 2009 to only 9.7% in 2014.

Why might this be?

Well the authors state the answer is herd immunity. All of those immunized individuals are beginning to provide protection for even those who have not been immunized as these strains of the virus (6,11,16,18 and maybe some of types 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 ) are not able to effectively spread through the population like they once could.

Conclusions

HPV is a DNA virus which is responsible for most if not all cases of cervical cancer. The main causative strains were identified and proteins from these viruses are used in vaccines to cause production of antibodies to protect people from infection. These vaccines have been reported to be extremely effective, and now evidence has been found showing that herd immunity is protecting even those not vaccinated.

Sources

Text Sources

  1. http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/fulltext/2017/10000/Change_in_Human_Papillomavirus_Prevalence_Among.6.aspx
  2. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0042682210001005
  3. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0042682213004352
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26126623
  5. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/infectious-agents/hpv-fact-sheet
  6. https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/research/gardasil9-prevents-more-HPV-types

Image Sources

  1. Image 1
  2. Image 2

All Non Cited Images Are From Pixabay.com, Flickr.com, Pexels.com, or Wikipedia.com And Are Available For Reuse Under Creative Commons Licenses

Any Gifs Are From Giphy.com and Are Also Available for Use Under Creative Commons Licences

If you like this work, please consider giving me a follow: @justtryme90. I am here to help spread scientific knowledge and break down primary publications in such a way so as to cut through the jargon and provide you the main conclusions in short (well compared to the original articles at least!) and easy to read posts.

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Really helpful information, thank you.
It's real that all of the HPV vaccines were tested in thousands of people around the world before they were approved. So far, all studies show no serious side effects caused by the vaccines, and no deaths have been linked to any HPV vaccine. Common, mild side effects include pain and redness where the shot was given, fever, dizziness, and nausea.

People may faint after getting any vaccine, including HPV vaccines. Fainting after getting a shot is more common in teens than in young children or adults. To keep people from getting hurt from fainting, a 15-minute waiting period for people of all ages is recommended after any vaccination.

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First time I hear of fainting after a vaccine.. is it like a fear response or something else?

a fairly comprehensive explanation of the vaccine. this makes me a little more relieved. because there are some people who assume that the vaccine is a process of internalizing the virus into the body in lure as an anti-immune system. on the other hand some people consider "vaccine" forbidden because it contains elements of pigs in the process of making the vaccine. however, the issue of haram and halal I responded with the cause that as long as there is no kosher vaccine, then for reasons of recovery from disease can be used. because in a condition where we do not get a drug made from a kosher, it may use drugs containing haram elements.

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There are different methods used for each vaccine. I just explained this one anti HPV vaccine and what was done to stimulate immunity. This depiction isnt always the case for other vaccines. Some do use attenuated whole viruses.

This vaccine should not involve any pigs in the production process.

That great post thank alot...i dont know before about Papillomaviruses human..after i read from your article i got more knowledge, and thanks so much @justtryme90 i will learn more from you..

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Thanks for giving it a read. Glad you left with more than you came with. :)

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Its ok.. thanks

Thank you very much for this interesting and informative article. After our daughter was born last year I was thinking about all this vaccinations which were to come up soon and tried to get us much information as possible. I'm still not 100 % sure if we took the right choice but we are going for the recommended shots here in Japan and maybe later in Germany.

The topic of herd immunity shouldn't be overlooked at all, since some children can't get vaccinated and they rely on the protection they will get through all the other kids who got their shots. Recently more and more families in Germany decided to not get their kids the measles shot anymore, for several reasons we don't need to debate, but the result is that the percentage of vaccinated children fell down below the tipping point and now the measles are having some kind of comeback.

Since it gives those children a chance to avoid some of the worst diseases we shouldn't underestimate the effect of heard immunity.

I'm just a little fish hear but I'm leaving you a big upvote.

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I'm still not 100 % sure if we took the right choice but we are going for the recommended shots here in Japan and maybe later in Germany.

The right choice is to get children vaccinated, so you made the right choice. The antivaccination movement was cooked up by lawyers who just wanted reasons to sue people. Lots of money to be made in health, and even more so if you can spread enough disinformation to start a movement.

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But surprisingly so many educated people are defending this anti-vax theory these day. Even some of my friends who then became very serious about it. And they always hold up the latest graph and statistic to proof their point and it becomes tough to debate against it.

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People are easily manipulated. Regardless of education level. The latest graph and statistic? Well there isn't any data which supports their viewpoints. The publications are all shoddy work, pay for play journals... The major points anti-vaxers tout is have been thoroughly debunked. This is not to say they are without any risk and complication, because they aren't, there are potential complications to ANY medical treatment, but overall the net benefit of vaccination so far outweighs the net downside its not even worth a conversation over.

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People are easily manipulated. Regardless of education level.

Well said.

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I agree, that's why I keep out arguing about this

Very informative.
Will the vaccine help those who already have HPV infection and/or cervical cancer?
You mentioned warts, are skin tags, moles and polyps also caused by HPV?
Thanks

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Will the vaccine help those who already have HPV infection and/or cervical cancer?

No, its preventative not curative.

are skin tags, moles and polyps also caused by HPV?

Nope, but they are all benign (non cancerous) tumors as well.

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Thank you.
Have you heard if any scientists are trying to dissolve or disable viruses using resonant vibrations of sound or electromagnetic energy?

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Nope sorry.

Thanks for your informative post and taking a stand against the #antivax delusionals. I look forward to having a reputation score as high as yours so I can downvote their trolling under #science

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I don't recommend downvoting anyone for expressing their opinions on something (no matter how wrong I think those opinions are). They deserve their space to discuss what they think, just as I deserve my space to discuss the actual data. I added the disclaimer at the top as an attempt to preempt my need to have any arguments and let this post sort of just stand on its own. The vax-antivax battle is not one which results in an educational experience for anyone. It just gets emotions inflamed. Best to avoid it and focus on the information.

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IMO there's "expressing their opinions" and "trolling" and those are two different things. I agree it can be a subjective judgement call. But there's a reason that the downvote option in Steemit spells out trolling as a reason - it's anti social behaviour that ruins the Steemit community.

If someone tags their post as #science they should be ready to stick up for scrutiny as science and not run around trying to cry bully scientists that hold them to scientific principles.

That may sound "hard core" to some people but let's not forget that anti-vax propaganda is no joke, it can actually lead to people dying unnecessarily, and not even ones gullible enough to fall for it, innocent and vulnerable people who are immunocompromised.

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This may be, but flagging behavior can lead to a war between the opposing sides of the argument. The flags will be returned in kind leading to obscuring of good explanations. It is best to focus on promoting good content then flagging bad content. Make good science more visible and the nutty stuff will return to the shadows. People crave factual reassuring answers. Nobody wants to live by fear driven propaganda.

I had the Gardasil shot years ago. It's a good thing that in Greece we get it for free for young women.

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Good, being able to drastically reduce the likelihood of even one type of cancer is worth while.

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Yes! It's a good thing that this country tries to provide us with at least the basics!

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yeah, but autism is the price to pay

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Uh, no.

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Your troll links are not amusing 😒😒😒👿👿👿👿👿👿😠😠😠😠

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Did you click on sexy time and expect porn? I mean who do you think I am?

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I didn't expect borat in a mankini. Now I am blind . Thanks.

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You clicked when it said risky click. Not my fault :p

@justtryyme90, very important information about viruses, very useful. Thank you friend. greetings from Indonesia.

On the topic of vaccines and children I remember a retired doctor told me in his opinion babies under 1 year should not be vaccinated because it puts so much stress on their immune systems and was better to wait.... may be true or is nonsense?¿

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I don't know of any literature which supports that.

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thanks :))

Great explanation... thanks a lot!!

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Thanks! Tried to break this down to an understandable level. :)

So basically what you are saying is that if I get this vaccine I will become too autistic to get cervical cancer?

Love the sexy time link, now I need a shower :)

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Yep, that's what I am saying! It's important to get your autism levels up to a state that is toxic for cancer.

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LOL
My levels are almost there xD

I will move along on this one...good post I am sure and I am glad people are researching.. thanks for taking time to put this together.. I really don't debate in Steemit.. off to see a client..

thanks for sharing it

awesome channel

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Thank you kindly.

I love this post....this content also liked...plz share everytime with us like as this post.....

Hello mate! As usual a very well written post giving out a lot of useful information. I have to admit, I always have been scared of having vaccine mate, i have always run away whenever I had to do vaccination, i got this fear since I was small and it's still here! But I know if i am in a critical state, i will definitely have to do it, we all love our life, right!?
Btw the Borat mankini is a nice link bringing some fun in this serious post.

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Vaccination isn't usually something you get after you already have an infection, rather it is a preventative measure prior to getting one. So if you are in a bad state, it may well be too late.

Great work❤

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Thank you!

Thats great information to me...thanks so much @justtryme90

great man.............

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Thank you for taking a look :)

this reminds me of the AIDs epidemic http://rethinkingaids.com/

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How so? They are very different viruses.

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I meant like the idea that it protects even those that don't receive it

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Well there is nothing that causes herd immunity for AIDS...

Thanks for visiting my blog sir. Thanks for your vote. Your post is too good to read. Thanks @ justtryme90

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Too good to read? That doesn't sound like it's any good at all... :(

Well the authors state the answer is herd immunity. All of those immunized individuals are beginning to provide protection for even those who have not been immunized as these strains of the virus (6,11,16,18 and maybe some of types 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 ) are not able to effectively spread through the population like they once could.

Where's the evidence?

Although the evidence for vaccination-based herd immunity is yet to materialize, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Just a single publication by Poland & Jacobson (1994) reports on 18 different measles outbreaks throughout North America, occurring in school populations with very-high vaccination coverage for measles (71% to 99.8%). In these outbreaks, vaccinated children constituted 30% to 100% of measles cases. Many more similar outbreaks, occurring after 1994, can be found by searching epidemiologic literature.
Source: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/herd-immunity-myth-or-reality

And
Why Is China Having Measles Outbreaks When 99% Are Vaccinated?

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Did you not read the disclaimer at the top?

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Let me kindly reply by being (hopefully) funny:

Did I say that I am an anti-vaxxer?

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I know who you are. You don't need to say it :)

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Well how did you figure that out? Because I don't even know who I am! :D

Hi @JustTryMe90, I've enjoyed reading your biochem posts in the past. I just stumbled across this post and wondered what you think about fellow biochemist & molecular biologist Judy Mikovits and what she has to say about vaccines:

Particularly interesting were specifically her claims about toxicity of adjutants & excipients, exogenous retroviruses that tag along with the reverse transcriptase enzymes, and endogenous retroviruses that can become awakened from dormancy when toxic virus envelopes awaken the immune system after vaccinations.

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biochemist & molecular biologist Judy Mikovits

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/chi-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-paper-10032011-story.html

I'd say she fakes her data and her statements should be regarded as false, until supported by actual data.

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Manipulation alleged in paper linking virus, chronic fatigue syndrome

Alleged, indeed. If you want to know what happened, instead of jumping to conclusions I would at least urge you to hear her side of the story as well. Here is the coauthor of her book:

cervical cancer, is it as seen in this neck ?. this is my neck photo.


_sorry, if it looks very disgusting. I just need referrals for recovery_

and this disease is almost five years I suffered. thank you @juttryme90. i like you. by @boyasyie

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Cervical cancer occurs is in the cervix... in a womans reproductive pathway. Not a neck!

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I'm picking a mistranslation. Cervix means neck. But, in your usage, "neck of the uterus".

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This I did not know actually. I have only ever known of the uterine cervix.

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Cervical vertebrae is probably a common thing you'll hear. That's the vertebrae in the neck.

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Yep, I looked it up after you mentioned it. :)

TIL

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thank you @ justtryme90. I always follow and share your post. i like you my friend

Your troll links are not amusing

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Are you copying the comment by @trumpman?