Writing Exercise #2

Prompt: As a healthcare professional, a colleague asks your opinion as to which HPV strains should be covered in a new treatment. Based on your reading from the Sarid and Gao 2011 article, what would your recommendation be, and when should the treatment be administered? What evidence supports your opinion? Keep in mind a cost/benefit analysis, as the cost of developing a vaccine for each strain can get very pricey!

Exercise: After learning about the different types of human papillomaviruses in the content from this week, it is clear that HPV is directly associated with cervical cancer. If a cancer could be stopped early by inventing a vaccine against these viruses, it would certainly be a breakthrough in oncology.

However, it seems as if cancer cells themselves are very rapid to evolve and develop amazing abilities in order to evade the immune system and DNA repair proteins. This vaccine would have to cover as many bases as it can, but this is not realistic price-wise unfortunately. The vaccine would likely come at too high of a price to be easily accessible, which would then defeat its purpose of creating a herd immunity. However, the article states that HPVs 16, 18, 31, and 45 account up to 80% of cervical cancer (Sarid & Gao, 2011). While there are other strains that are also potentially harmful and carcinogenic, these seem to be the major cancer-causing players. Hence, these four strains should be included in a vaccine treatment. This seems to be a reasonable amount of strains in a vaccine due to the fact that the flu shot offered every year has about three or four strains according to the CDC and many people are able to invest in it (“Frequently Asked Flu Questions 2018-2019 Influenza Season”, 2019). Hence, being able to have four of these major strains would likely be incredibly effective.

The vaccine should be administered before a person starts to become sexually active. The genital human papillomavirus is often spread through sexual interactions and therefore is likely not needed before these events occur.

Going back to the idea of cancer being a disease that constantly evolves though, I suppose it also could mean that the virus can evolve and develop another strain which means that the vaccine might need to be redesigned every so often.


Frequently Asked Flu Questions 2018-2019 Influenza Season. (2019, January 10). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2018-2019.html

Sarid, R., & Gao, S.-J. (2011). Viruses and human cancer: From detection to causality. Cancer Letters305(2), 218–227. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2010.09.011

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