One dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine may prevent infection from the virus, which is responsible for 70% of all oral cancers, reports the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). However, researchers there caution that it’s too early for people to rely on a single dose instead of a two-dose or three-dose series for protection.
“HPV vaccine coverage is less than 10% globally because of poor vaccine uptake rates in many resource-limited countries,” said Ashish A. Deshmukh, PhD, MPH, assistant professor at the UTHealth School of Public Health.
“Ensuring boys and girls receive their first dose is a big challenge in several countries, and a majority of adolescents are not able to complete the recommended series due to a lack of intensive infrastructure needed to administer two or three doses,” said Deshmukh.
“If ongoing clinical trials provide evidence regarding sustained benefits of a one-dose regimen, then implications of single-dose strategy could be substantial for reducing the burden of these cancers globally,” said Deshmukh.
Though the study participants included only women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a two-dose regiment for all children starting the series before the age of 15 or a three-dose regiment if the series is started between the ages of 16 and 26.
The latest generation of the HPV vaccine can protect against nearly 90% of cancer-causing HPV infections, the researchers said, but half of the people in the United States are not vaccinated against HPV.
“The current HPV vaccine dosing regimen can be cumbersome for people to understand. If one dose is proven effective in trials, the vaccine regimen will be simplified,” said lead author Kalyani Sonawane, PhD, an assistant professor at the UTHealth School of Public Health.
“This will help improve the coverage rate among adolescents that are currently below the Healthy People 2020 goal and possibly will also increase the momentum of uptake in the newly approved age group,” said Sonawane.