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Friday 21st October 2016

US gets cervical cancer vaccine

26th June 2006

The US has approved the first vaccine against cervical cancer, which kills 290,000 women worldwide each year.

The new drug Gardasil - manufactured by Merck & Co. - is designed to be given to girls and women between the ages of nine and 26. It works by combatting the human papillomavirus (HPV).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gardasil after a six-month clinical testing programme, involving 21,000 women around the world.

Gardasil was effective against two strains of HPV which cause approximately 70 per cent of cervical cancers, the FDA said. It was also effective against another two separate strains of HPV which cause most genital warts.

Three injections will cost $360 (£195), with Merck saying the vaccine would be available within weeks.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide after breast cancer. Most death occur in developing countries, where early screening is not as developed as in wealthy nations.

In the UK, the Department of Health said it was currently seeking expert advice on the efficacy, safety and benefits that these new vaccines may offer.

Charity Cancer Research UK and say a vaccine programme in the UK could prevent 2,800 cases of cervical cancer every year in the UK.

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