Vaccines Against Cervical Cancer Soon But Will It Be Enough?

October 07, 2005

Merck and GlaxoSmithKline have been conducting trials of vaccines that protect against the human papilloma virus. Two forms of human papillomavirus, types 16 and 18, are responsible for an estimated 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. Such cancers kill about 300,000 women worldwide each year, including almost 4,000 in the United States.GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine could reach the market in 2006 while Merck plans later this year to seek U.S. approval for the cancer vaccine, which also protects against another two types of the virus that cause genital warts. Merck is partnering its vaccine in Europe with Sanofi-Aventis.Merck said on Thursday that its vaccine candidate, Gardisal, was highly effective in preventing pre-cervical cancer lesions.At the same time, J.P. Garnier, Chief Excecutive of GSK, said it would be a challenge for the two companies to produce enough vaccine for the whole world.

Frankly, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline together will just be enough to produce enough vaccine. ... The most important part here is to be able to provide a wide spectrum of vaccination for the women from age 10, 12 to later in life. I think that's going to overwhelm the competitive nature and the competitive makeup.
In the meantime, according to The Nation, some of the Christian Right are opposing widespread use of HPV vaccines.
"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful," Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council told the British magazine New Scientist, "because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex."


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