The disease transmitted by the papillomavirus is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in humans. It is estimated that 79 million people are infected in the United States alone.
This disease is usually harmless and disappears on its own but sometimes it can cause effects such as warts on the genitals and in more severe cases it can progress in cervical or oral cancer. According to a new study, published in Emerging Microbes, papillomavirus can be transmitted through blood to rabbits and mice, i.e. to animals on which researchers have carried out experiments.
According to researchers at the State University of Pennsylvania, this means that there is a risk that human papillomavirus (HPV) may also be transmitted through blood, which would introduce new dangers, including those related to blood donation.
Jiafen Hu, Professor of Pathology and Medicine at the university and one of the authors of the study, states in the press release that since people receiving blood transfusions are often more immunologically vulnerable, the possibility of adding human papillomavirus to the list of viruses for which blood donors perform tests should be seriously considered.
In addition to this, of course, further research should be carried out to understand if the papillomavirus can be transmitted through the blood also with regard to humans. Animal experiments are useful to a certain extent because the human strain of papillomavirus is different from that of animals.
Hu himself adds in the press release: “We know that HPV is common and that not everyone who contracts it will have cancer. The difficult part is that many people who are carrying HPV and who are asymptomatic still have the potential to spread the virus. If a person is receiving a blood transfusion due to a health problem, you don’t want to accidentally add another one to that list.”
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