Knowing how the virus works is important, because due to its structure it can remain undetected for a long time which causes infections to be recurrent or persistent.

The HPV is a virus without a capsule, which is the envelope that would make it detectable to our immune system, in charge of defending us against any foreign agent. What the virus does to stay active in our organism is to get inside our own cells. It copies its genetic material into the cells and then forms mature virions. These virions, even if they have the ability to infect the superficial cells, initially and as the infection progresses they travel to deeper cells.

This way it is transforming the cells, each time more different from one another, and after a long time a cancer can develop.

Papillomavirus, therefore, need special tissues to copy their genetic material, hence the affinity of the virus by the tissues that in themselves are in frequent change and maturation.

Therefore, the cervix, vagina and sexual organs in general have a greater predisposition to infection.

HPV is a small virus measuring 60 to 55 nanometers, without a shell and a 20-face structure composed of proteins that surround the genetic material of the virus.

The genetic material of the virus consists of a double circular chain of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The regions of the genetic material that encode proteins are located in one of the two DNA strands and are called Open Reading Frames (ORF).

The HPV genome has been divided into 3 regions:
• E Region (Early)
• L Region (Late)
• LCR Region (Long Control Region)

The E region contains ORFs that encode the products necessary for the regulation of the replication and transcription of the genetic material of the virus, or for the transformation and immortalization of the already infected cell.

It is also important to mention that, knowing how the human papillomavirus is, we understand more easily that the vaccine currently available in some countries of the European Union does not contain active virions capable of infecting whoever is vaccinated. On the contrary, the vaccine is made from a part of the L1 region of the virus, so our immune system creates antibodies so that when it is actually in contact with the virus, the body can defend itself against it.

  • Human papillomavirus is a small, non-enveloped virus, so it needs our cells to copy its genetic material and be able to infect it.
  • Virions are the mature forms of the virus.
  • Vaccines to prevent infection by the Papillomavirus are made from the L1 region of the virus, making it safe for humans because it contains no active viruses.
  • Predisposing factors and frequent reinfection with the Papillomavirus are needed  so that the cells of our organism can change.