A vaccine against human papilloma virus (HPV), the virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer, appears to protect women for more than four years, according to research published in the British journal The Lancet.
The study is a long-term follow-up to an earlier study of Cervarix, one of two HPV vaccines that are currently in development. The researchers originally tested this vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, in 1,113 women between the ages of 15 and 25. Half were given the vaccine, and the rest were not. The new study tracked 776 of those women from both groups more than four years later to see if the vaccine was working.
Nearly all of the women who received the vaccine (98 percent) still had antibodies to HPV 16 and HPV 18 more than four years after being vaccinated. What's more, none of the women who got vaccinated developed any cervical abnormalities caused by HPV 16 or HPV 18. The vaccine also partly protected many women from two other strains of HPV that have been linked to cervical cancer, HPV 45 and HPV 31, but did not protect against other known strains, HPV 33, 52, and 58. None of the women who were vaccinated reported any serious side effects from the medication.