India has the largest burden of cervical cancer in the world where Human papillomavirus is responsible for 70% of the cases. However, there are concerns associated with the use of HPV vaccine. Comment on this issue.
Introduction: (up to 30 words) Mention HPV and about the infection it can cause.
Body: (up to 100 words) Explain a little about the vaccine and the concerns surrounding it.
Conclusion: (up to 30 words) Conclude by saying that, given the disease burden in India, it is imperative that a solid treatment procedure be put in place to treat those infected until the vaccine is developed.
India has the largest burden of cervical cancer in the world. Around 70,000 women die of it each year, and around 70% of these cases are caused by infections from HPV strains, which the vaccines prevent.
HPV infection is an infection that causes warts in various parts of the body, depending on the strain.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Many people with HPV don't develop any symptoms but can still infect others through sexual contact. Symptoms may include warts on the genitals or surrounding skin.
There's no cure for the virus and warts may go away on their own. Treatment focuses on removing the warts.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is designed to prevent HPV-related cervical cancer.
A vaccine that prevents the HPV strains most likely to cause genital warts and cervical cancer is recommended for boys and girls.
HPV vaccine is being introduced in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). This means millions of girls in India aged between 9 and 14 years will get the vaccines for free.
HPV vaccines have been in the middle of a controversy because of suspicions that they may be causing a trio of rare illnesses called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) assertion that HPV vaccines are safe is being questioned, after it has been found that the EMA had relied mainly on the drug manufacturer’s analysis of clinical trial data to reach this conclusion. This is a problem because drug manufacturers have been known to cherry-pick data to show safety.
As drug makers often don’t share all trial data, their claims cannot be re-examined by neutral outsiders.
However, given the rarity of these side effects and high burden of disease, waiting for more information on the POTS-HPV vaccine link could be unethical.
There are precedents of India going ahead with a vaccine, despite small risks. For example, the oral polio vaccine caused polio in one out of around every 1-2 million doses. But India accepted the risks of the vaccine because the disease itself was so rampant. Eventually, from a burden of over 2 lakh cases a year, India became polio-free in 2014 using this vaccine.