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Research Projects

Immunity, Knowledge, Behaviour and HPV Infection Rates after Pre-Adolescent HPV Vaccination during the VACCS 1 and 2 Trials (ImmunoVACCS)

Immunity, Knowledge, Behaviour and HPV Infection Rates after Pre-Adolescent HPV Vaccination during the VACCS 1 and 2 Trials (ImmunoVACCS)

Dr Haynes van der Merwe

Dr Haynes van der Merwe

Title of the project

Immunity, knowledge, behaviour and HPV infection rates after pre-adolescent HPV vaccination during the VACCS 1 and 2 trials (ImmunoVACCS).

Project Description

The project focuses on the reduction of risk for cervical cancer, still the most common cause of cancer death among women. Following the VACCS 1 and 2 trials by this research group, the South African National Department of Health implemented school-based HPV vaccination in public schools. The impact of pre-adolescent HPV vaccination and education on behavioural risk, immunity and resulting acquisition of different HPV types among adolescent and young
South African women is however untested and unknown.

The ImmunoVACCS project will target a group of young South African women who received bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines and health education via the well-published VACCS 1 and 2 projects as pre-adolescents during 2010 – 2014. The proposed project will focus on the effect of pre-adolescent HPV vaccination on three measurable aspects of cancer risk:

  • Behavioural risk tested with a questionnaire
  • Immunological risk and HPV antibodies as tested with type-specific antigen binding tests
  • Infection risk with cancer-causing HPV types tested with molecular biology methods

This project will assist to answer some of the remaining questions about the efficacy of this risk reduction strategy, which has the potential to save many lives.


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