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HPV vaccine approved by FDA to prevent throat cancer

Published on 17/06/20 at 10:47am
Photo by melvil

The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine Gardasil 9 has been approved by the FDA to prevent HPV-related genital tract, agnogenital infections and cancers for people ages 9 to 45 years old.

The regulatory body gave approval to Merck’s vaccine following a 6000 patient clinical study that proved the efficacy and safety of the treatment.

The vaccine was originally approved in 2006 for girls aged between 9 and 26 to prevent early HPV lesions of the cervix, which could become precancerous or cancerous. There are just under 11,000 cases of HPV-related cervical cancers diagnosed each year. If this vaccine is given in early puberty, prior to sexual activity, the likelihood of viral transmission from this STI reduces dramatically.  Gardasil 9 currently treats nine subtypes of HPV.

Dr Alain Luxembourg, Director of clinical research at Merck Research Laboratories, said in a press release: “Today’s approval for the prevention of HPV-related oropharyngeal and other head and neck cancers represents an important step in Merck’s mission to help reduce the number of men and women affected by certain HPV-related cancers.”

In addition to prevention of HPV infection, the vaccine can also stop a rare disease of children born to women with HPV. Up to 3,000 children develop warts of their vocal cords and airways due to the exposure to the disease through their mother which can lead to voice issues, breathing problems and death. This can require multiple surgeries to cure.

Conor Kavanagh

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