Human Papillomavirus

by Meredith Henry


Symptoms of HPV can include different types of warts and cervical cancer, and other HPV related cancers.


HPV is passed around between humans through skin to skin contact. This virus is usually sexually transmitted but not always.


Once you have the virus, it can not completely go away, but it can be treated with Podofilox, Trichloroacetic acid, or Imiquimod. These medicines can kill the virus but only for a short time.


To prevent HPV you can get vaccinated (3 times in 6 months), or you can choose not to have unsafe sex, or no sex at all.

Immune cells involved in an immune response

It is rare to be naturally immune to HPV as the HPV has learned to avoid an innate response and an adaptive response takes too long as the virus has already infected cell. If your body can trigger an adaptive response fast enough you will be immune, so therefore immune response is only triggered if B and T cells are fast enough to send a signal. However the body can lessen its effects using an anti- HPV antibody. There is not much known about this antibody, but it does somehow manage to kill a small amount of the virus.

HPV photomicrograph

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HPV reproduces through the lytic and lysogenic cycles.

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Lytic cycle

When the viral DNA enters the cell, it transcribes itself to the messenger RNA of the host, and uses them to direct the ribosomes. The host's DNA is then destroyed. The virus replicates fast inside the cell until eventually there are so many viruses that the cell explodes and dies.

Lysogenic cycle

The viral RNA enters the cell and integrates the cells DNA with a new set of genes called prophage. The viral RNA becomes part of the host's DNA. Everytime the cell's replicates a chromosome, the prophage replicates too. There are no symptoms in the cell for the lysogenic cycle, but the lysogenic cycle can eventually turn into the lytic cycle.