ATLANTA – Scientists have created a new test to measure antibodies in girls who have received a vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer in women. This new test and a second study establishing accurate reference intervals for pregnant patients were presented today at the 2021 AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, and could help resolve persistent challenges in healthcare and lab testing for women.
Monitoring HPV Immunity After Vaccination
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted viruses, and research has clearly linked HPV infections to reproductive cancers in both women and men. In particular, most cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV infection, which means that vaccinating girls against HPV is key to preventing and eliminating this cancer.
Determining how long protection from HPV lasts after vaccination could help to bolster public confidence in the vaccine and increase uptake. With this in mind, a team led by Emmanuel Donkoh, PhD, of the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani, Ghana, created a rapid, high-throughput test to detect and quantify antibodies against HPV in Ghanaian girls. The scientists validated their test with blood samples from 49 pre-adolescent girls who received a quadrivalent HPV vaccine and 40 age-matched, unvaccinated girls. The test showed that immunoglobulin G antibodies for HPV-16 and -18 (common types of HPV) were much more prevalent among vaccinated girls three years after the third dose of the vaccine compared with unvaccinated girls (63.3% vs. 12.5% for HPV-16).
“Our results provide empirical evidence that the initial antibody response is sustained even at 36 months post-vaccination and around the average age of sexual debut for African girls,” said Donkoh. “The higher HPV-16 and -18 antibodies among vaccinated girls emphasize the need to scale-up HPV vaccination among girls in the country.”
Creating Better Reference Intervals for Pregnant Patients
Another obstacle in women’s health is the lack of standardized reference intervals for patients who are pregnant or have just given birth. To correctly interpret lab test results, providers must evaluate results within the context of reference intervals, which are the range of normal test values that indicate a person is healthy. However, pregnancy affects proteins and other biomarkers measured by common lab tests. This means that using existing reference intervals for pregnant patients can lead to incorrect interpretation of their lab results, which in turn can lead to subpar maternity care.
Vilte Barakauskas, PhD, Ann Tran, MD, and colleagues from the BC Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, have now established accurate reference intervals for coagulation tests commonly ordered for peripartum patients (i.e., patients who are about to or have just given birth). The research team collected and analyzed blood samples from an ethnically diverse group of more than 400 healthy patients with singleton pregnancies before and after delivery. Barakauskas’ team then calculated reference intervals using eligible test results from 196 of the participants. The new intervals revealed that peripartum patients have different levels of fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor, and other proteins involved in bleeding and clotting compared with non-pregnant adults.
“Lab testing in pregnant women should be compared to reference intervals specific for pregnancy,” said Tran. “If a lab does not have pregnancy-specific reference intervals, then any out-of-range lab values should be interpreted cautiously and with knowledge of how pregnancy itself can change lab values.”
AACC Annual Scientific Meeting registration is free for members of the media. Reporters can register online here: https://www.xpressreg.net/register/aacc0921/media/landing.asp
Abstract B-135: Three-year HPV-16/18 vaccine responses in adolescent girls using an indirect ELISA method: A proof-of-concept will be presented during:
Scientific Poster Session
Wednesday, September 29
9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
ePoster Station in the Poster Hall
Abstract A-228: Peripartum reference intervals for coagulation parameters derived in a healthy, multicultural cohort of mothers as part of the Pregnancy Reference Intervals for Safe Medicine (PRISM) study will be presented during:
Student Poster Presentation
Monday, September 27
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Scientific Poster Session
Tuesday, September 28
9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. (presenting author in attendance from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.)
Both sessions will take place in Exhibit Hall C of the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
About the 2021 AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo
The AACC Annual Scientific Meeting offers 5 days packed with opportunities to learn about exciting science from September 26-30. Plenary sessions explore COVID-19 vaccines and virus evolution, research lessons learned from the pandemic, artificial intelligence in the clinic, miniaturization of diagnostic platforms, and improvements to treatments for cystic fibrosis.
At the AACC Clinical Lab Expo, more than 400 exhibitors will fill the show floor of the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta with displays of the latest diagnostic technology, including but not limited to COVID-19 testing, artificial intelligence, mobile health, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, point-of-care, and automation.
Dedicated to achieving better health through laboratory medicine, AACC brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management, and other areas of progressing laboratory science. Since 1948, AACC has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing programs that advance scientific collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and innovation. For more information, visit www.aacc.org.