Women who have the HPV vaccine may need only one smear test to help prevent cervical cancer in their lifetime, according to a leading scientist.
Women are currently invited for screening every three to five years in the UK.
Prof Peter Sasieni said the vaccine was leading to such dramatic reductions in cancer that the screening programme would need to change soon.
Cancer Research UK urged people to still come for screening when invited.
Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by human papillomaviruses – known as HPV. They can damage DNA and start to transform healthy cells into cancerous ones if there is a prolonged infection.
There are more than 100 types of human papillomavirus and they are so common that most people will get an infection at some point during their lives.
So the NHS invites women, and people with a cervix, for regular screening. Swabs of the cervix are used to check for signs of abnormalities using a microscope (the traditional smear test) or more recently to test for the virus itself.
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We were interviewed on GB News and Talk Radio today about this. While we believe it is the correct decision to remove the requirement for mandatory vaccination, we also feel that Covid 19 vaccines give protection against serious illness and hospitalisation.
The BBC website report on this as of 31/1/22 is below:
Ministers will meet later to decide whether or not to scrap mandatory Covid vaccinations for NHS staff in England.
Front-line NHS workers in England must be fully vaccinated by 1 April, meaning they need a first dose by Thursday.
If they are not jabbed by April, they will be redeployed or dismissed. Around 77,000 NHS staff are unvaccinated.
Last week, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the jabs requirement was being “kept under review” but that it was the “duty” of NHS staff to get vaccinated.
He told the Health and Social Care Select Committee on Tuesday that, when the policy was announced, the dominant variant was Delta and it was right to “reflect” now Omicron was dominant.
The government has been under pressure from some within the health service to scrap the mandate, arguing that it would lead to a staffing crisis.
Two-thirds of people recently infected with the Omicron variant say they had already had Covid previously. The findings come from a large, continuing study, React, swab-testing thousands of volunteers in England. More work is needed to know how many are true reinfections – but the results reveal the groups that appear to be more likely to catch Covid again.
They include healthcare workers and households with children or lots of members under one roof. More than two million people have been tested in the study. The latest findings, for the first two weeks of 2022 – round 17 – are based on about 100,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests posted to volunteers and then returned.
About 4,000 were positive, by far the highest rate seen since the pandemic began. And when a selection of them were sequenced to check what type of Covid was to blame, virtually all were Omicron – the highly infectious variant, first identified in South Africa, causing a big winter wave of infections in the UK.
It is not yet clear how many of the volunteers who tested positive had been fully vaccinated. Two shots offer little protection against catching Omicron, although protection against severe disease wanes less. But booster doses have been rolled out at speed since Omicron hit, to top up people’s protection.
Natural defences against a common cold could offer some protection against Covid-19, too, research suggests. The small-scale study, published in Nature Communications, involved 52 individuals who lived with someone who had just caught Covid-19.
Those who had developed a “memory bank” of specific immune cells after a cold – to help prevent future attacks – appeared less likely to get Covid.
Experts say no-one should rely on this defence alone, and vaccines remain key. But they believe their findings could provide useful insight into how a body’s defence system fights the virus. Covid-19 is caused by a type of coronavirus, and some colds are caused by other coronaviruses – so scientists have wondered whether immunity against one might help with the other.
But the experts caution that it would be a “grave mistake” to think that anyone who had recently had a cold was automatically protected against Covid-19 – as not all are caused by coronaviruses.
The Imperial College London team wanted to understand better why some people catch Covid after being exposed to the virus and others do not.
South Africa has lifted overnight curfew rules, with officials saying the country may have passed the peak of its fourth wave of Covid-19 infections. A government statement said the Omicron variant, while highly transmissible, had seen lower hospitalisation rates than previous waves.
There had been a marginal increase in the number of deaths, it added. The variant – first reported by South Africa last month – is spreading fast elsewhere leading to widespread curbs.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a “tsunami” of infections from Delta and Omicron variants that could overwhelm health systems. But in South Africa, a statement released after a special cabinet meeting said cases and hospital admission rates had dropped in almost all provinces across the country.
For the week ending 25 December 2021, the number of confirmed infections stood at 89,781 – down from 127,753 the week before.
The first people in the UK are in hospital with Omicron infections, Nadhim Zahawi has said. The new variant of coronavirus now accounts for a third of cases in London, the education secretary said. With two doses of a vaccine “not enough” Mr Zahawi encouraged people to get a booster jab – those aged 30 and over are eligible to do so from Monday. As of Sunday, there have been 3,137 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the UK.
But the true number is likely to be far higher. There were 48,854 new positive Covid cases reported across the UK on Sunday – there have been 360,480 cases in the last seven days. Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) have warned that the UK will face a substantial wave of Omicron infections without further restrictions beyond the Plan B measures announced last week.
These include recommending people work from home if they can, expanding mask-wearing rules and introducing Covid passes for entry to some venues – parliament will vote on the changes on Tuesday. People in England with two or more jabs who are close contacts of Covid cases will be told to take daily lateral flow tests for seven days from Tuesday.
It means people in close contact with suspected or confirmed Omicron variant cases no longer need to self-isolate.
The first real world data showing the coronavirus variant Omicron may evade some of our immunity has been reported by scientists in South Africa. Scientists have detected a surge in the number of people catching Covid multiple times. It is a rapid analysis and not definitive, but fits with concern about the mutations the variant possesses.
It is also not clear what this means for the protection given by vaccines. A week after the variant was named Omicron, the world is still scrambling to understand the true threat posed by the variant. But now the first pieces of a large and complex puzzle are starting to be assembled. We already know the variant is heavily mutated and officials in South Africa have warned it is leading to a surge in cases there.
The latest piece of the jigsaw is understanding how likely somebody who has already had Covid is likely to catch Omicron. It has also been detected in more than 30 countries. Scientists have analysed nearly 36,000 suspected re-infections in South Africa to look for any changes to re-infection rates (catching it twice or more) throughout the pandemic.
They showed there was no surge in the risk of re-infection during either the Beta or Delta waves. This is despite laboratory studies suggesting those variants had the potential to evade some immunity.
However, they are now detecting a spike in re-infections. They have not tested each patient to prove it is Omicron, but they say the timing suggests the variant is the driving force.
Children as young as five years old have been attending hospital emergency departments for self-harm, depression and suicidal thoughts.
That is according to information received from the Western Health Trust in N Ireland.
It also revealed an 11% rise during the first year of the pandemic, compared to the year before, in those aged 18 and under attending emergency departments for serious mental health issues.
The figures relate to Altnagelvin, South West Acute and Omagh Hospitals.
Among those was a five-year-old referred by a GP for “depression and suicidal thoughts” and a suicidal nine-year-old brought in by police.
There were 473 children and young people who arrived at the emergency departments in the year prior to the pandemic, including 67 children aged 14 and under.
This had risen to 527 in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic between March 2020 and February 2021, with 102 of them aged 14 and under.
Although these figures take into account the first twelve months of the pandemic for annual comparison purposes, an upward trend has continued with the most recent figures given up until the end of August this year.
Nearly 10,000 more people than usual have died in the past four months from non-Covid reasons, as experts called for an urgent government inquiry into whether the deaths were preventable.
Fears are growing that NHS delays at the height of the pandemic left large numbers of people with previously treatable conditions suffering illnesses that have now become fatal.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that England and Wales registered 20,823 more deaths than the five-year average in the past 18 weeks. Only 11,531 deaths involved Covid.
It means that 9,292 deaths – 45 per cent – were not linked to the pandemic.
‘We urgently need to understand what’s going wrong’
Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, said: “I’m calling for an urgent investigation.
“If you look at where the excess is happening, it’s in conditions like ischemic heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver and diabetes, all which are potentially reversible.