Detection of human papillomavirus (HPV) L1 gene DNA possibly bound to particulate aluminum adjuvant in the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

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Journal of inorganic biochemistry, ISSN: 1873-3344, Vol: 117, Page: 85-92

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Lee, Sin Hang
Elsevier BV
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; Chemistry
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Medical practitioners in nine countries submitted samples of Gardasil (Merck & Co.) to be tested for the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA because they suspected that residual recombinant HPV DNA left in the vaccine might have been a contributing factor leading to some of the unexplained post-vaccination side effects. A total of 16 packages of Gardasil were received from Australia, Bulgaria, France, India, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Spain and the United States. A nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method using the MY09/MY11 degenerate primers for initial amplification and the GP5/GP6-based nested PCR primers for the second amplification were used to prepare the template for direct automated cycle DNA sequencing of a hypervariable segment of the HPV L1 gene which is used for manufacturing of the HPV L1 capsid protein by a DNA recombinant technology in vaccine production. Detection of HPV DNA and HPV genotyping of all positive samples were finally validated by BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) analysis of a 45-60 bases sequence of the computer-generated electropherogram. The results showed that all 16 Gardasil samples, each with a different lot number, contained fragments of HPV-11 DNA, or HPV-18 DNA, or a DNA fragment mixture from both genotypes. The detected HPV DNA was found to be firmly bound to the insoluble, proteinase-resistant fraction, presumably of amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate (AAHS) nanoparticles used as adjuvant. The clinical significance of these residual HPV DNA fragments bound to a particulate mineral-based adjuvant is uncertain after intramuscular injection, and requires further investigation for vaccination safety.