Friday, June 09, 2006

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Recombinant Vaccine Approved by FDA

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved a Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Recombinant Vaccine. It is the first and only vaccine to prevent cervical cancer and vulvar and vaginal pre-cancers caused by HPV types 16 and 18 and to prevent low-grade and pre-cancerous lesions and genital warts caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 and is developed by Merck and will be marketed under trade name Gardasil.

Arthur Allen does a nice job of discussing some things we should be thinking about in his Slate article: And Now, the HPV Vaccine: Warts and all ( :

" to get the vaccine to the women and girls who need it most—poor, uneducated women and those in the developing world. "None of us are going to be happy if the only women who get the vaccine are the same women who are already getting regular screens for cervical cancer," John Schiller, one of the vaccine's inventors, told me at his National Institutes of Health laboratory. The Vaccines for Children program, a Clinton-era entitlement, will probably make the vaccine available for free to poor children in the United States. But social conservatives like Focus on the Family leader James Dobson have opposed making vaccination mandatory, believing vaccination might lower barriers to teen sex.In a roundabout way, this prudery may keep the vaccine out of reach of poor girls. Research and experience have shown that only mandatory-vaccination laws—which typically increase vaccination rates by 10 to 15 percent—get even cheap vaccines to the poor. Given the politics, state legislatures and public health boards may shy from requiring HPV vaccine for middle-school entry."

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