In 2008, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize in the field of medicine to the German physician and scientist Harald zur Hausen. His contribution to the medical sciences was the discovery, systematization of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the proof of its direct connection with cervical cancer.
Human papillomavirus is a group of viruses that unites more than 170 strains divided into 27 species and 5 genera. HPV is by far the most common viral disease of the genital tract. Depending on the strain, the virus causes the growth of various cells - from warts to squamous carcinoma (cervical cancer). Since the incubation process takes from two weeks to several years, it is very often infected too late to seek help from specialists.
The use of barrier contraceptives (condoms) for the prevention of HPV is ineffective, because it is possible to get infection with the penetration of the virus into the body through microtrauma and abrasion. Contamination of newborns at birth is also possible.
Unfortunately, there is not yet a radical therapy to cure completely of HPV. For therapy used immunomodulators and antiviral drugs.
To remove external manifestations of virus infection (papillomas, warts, condylomas), use:
- laser coagulation;
- surgical removal;
- chemical cautery.
Scientists have high hopes in the treatment of HPV for gene therapy using CRISPR / Cas9 and zinc fingers.
Diagnosis of HPV infection consists of several stages:
- Clinical examination. During the examinations, warts and genital warts are detected. When anogenital warts are detected, colposcopy is indicated.
- Colposcopy and biopsy. Prescribed to all women who have cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.
- Cytological tests.
- Histological examination.
- Screening Digene-test.
- Research method of polymenase chain reaction.
The most dangerous manifestation of HPV - cervical cancer - is detected by colposcopy, cytological and histological examinations.
For the prevention of HPV infection in the world, vaccines have been developed that are recommended by WHO as preventive measures for the prevention of cervical cancer. In some countries of the world, such vaccination is included in the calendar of compulsory vaccinations and is paid for by the state. Mandatory three-time vaccination should be given to girls aged 11 to 12 years. WHO recommends vaccinating boys to prevent the circulation of the virus.