1 September 2010

Very unliturgical note

I have been reading, purely by chance, a couple of pieces in the Irish Times about the Cervical Cancer jabs. I wish to pose some questions at the very considerable risk ... nay rather, certainty ... of exposing my profound ignorance in such matters.

The jabs do not protect against cancer as such.
They protect against Human Papilloma Viruses, which might lead to cancer.
Of the fifteen or so known HPVs, the jab protects against 2.
With regard to those two, it provides 70% protection.

Have I got that right?

I never even did O-level Biology; so my understanding of Darwin/Dawkins Evolution is sketchy, to say the least. But ...
If the jab disadvantages two HPVs, does this not make it likely that those two may mutate and be replaced by improved forms which are resistant to the jab?
Since Nature abhors a vacuum, if those two HPVs were substantially eliminated, will their places not be taken by some among the other HPVs?
Does this not mean that there will be lots of young women going around who imagine that they have been protected agasinst cervical concer, but will be very much more vulnerable than they imagine?
Is it not probable that a sense of security among young women will lead to an increase in the cohort of acts which could cause an infection which might then lead to cancer?
Does all this mean that we are likely to see an exponential explosion in the numbers of cases of cervical cancer in, say, 7/10 years?

1 comment:

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...


you have provided a masterly summation.

For every strain of virus, mutations soon follow, which render the original vaccine largely ineffective.
The need for a yearly flu vaccine which is based on the strains prevalent in the past year is a case in point.......