Friday, October 07, 2005

Possible Life Saving Vaccine...

The other day I touched briefly on the HPV epidemic in the U.S. (an estimated 20 million people are affected with the incurable STD). Approximately 6.2 million new infections occur each year and 80% of women will be affected by age 50.

HPV is more commonly known as genital warts, but that's a misleading label as there are over 100 strains of this virus and only a few produce visible warts. The side effects include sterility and most importantly pre-cancerous cervical changes and eventually cervical cancer (this is the leading cause of cervical cancer).

Yesterday Merck announced that an "investigational vaccine aimed at cervical cancer has proved 100% effective against cervical pre-malignant lesions associated with the most prevalent strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV)" (source) The vaccine is not yet available but seems to be effective against 70% of HPV strains. There was no one that dropped out of the clinical trial due to adverse effects from the vaccine.

This is great news for so many young women and hopefully the talk of the vaccine will create awareness about a virus that has become so prevalent.

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