Different Challenges in Eliminating HPV16 Compared to Other Types: A Modeling Study

J Infect Dis. 2017 Aug 1;216(3):336-344. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jix299.


Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is still not reaching many high-risk populations. HPV16/18 vaccines offer cross-protection against other types, for example, HPV45. Both direct vaccine efficacy and indirect herd protection contribute to vaccination effectiveness.

Methods: We used a dynamic transmission model, calibrated to cervical screening data from Italy, to estimate vaccination effectiveness against HPV16 and HPV45 infection, assuming for HPV45 either 95% or lower cross-protection.

Results: Basic reproductive number was smaller (2.1 vs 4.0) and hence vaccine effectiveness and herd protection stronger for HPV45 than for HPV16. The largest difference in the reduction of infection prevalence in women <35 years old was found at 70% coverage in girls-only vaccination programs (99% vs 83% for total protection for HPV45 and HPV16, respectively, mainly owing to stronger herd protection, ie, 37% vs 16%). In gender-neutral vaccination, the largest difference was at 40% coverage (herd protection, 54% vs 28% for HPV16 and HPV45, respectively). With ≥80% coverage, even 50% cross-protection would reduce HPV45 by ≥94%.

Conclusions: The characteristics of individual high-risk HPV types strongly influence herd protection and determine the level of coverage and cross-protection required to reduce or eliminate the infection through HPV vaccination. HPV16 infection and related cancers are the most difficult to eliminate.

Keywords: HPV vaccination; cervical cancer control; cross-protection; herd effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Cross Protection / immunology
  • Female
  • Human papillomavirus 16*
  • Human papillomavirus 18*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Herd / immunology
  • Immunization Programs
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines