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Skin Therapy Lett. 2006 Jul-Aug;11(6):1-3.

Vaccines for the prevention of human papillomavirus infections.

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University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, USA.


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the known cause of almost all cases of cervical cancer. An understanding of the HPV genome has allowed the development of two prophylactic vaccines capable of protecting against both persistent HPV infection and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) with 100% efficacy in fully vaccinated women. The vaccines, manufactured by Merck (Gardasil, which was approved by the US FDA in June, 2006) and GlaxoSmithKline (Cervarix, which will be submitted for US FDA approval by the end of 2006), both target HPV types 16 and 18, which together account for 70% of cervical cancer. Merck vaccine also targets HPV 6 and 11, covering =90% of genital warts. These vaccines are highly immunogenic and have an excellent safety profile. HPV vaccines promise to offer an exciting contribution to healthcare and cancer prevention. However, many questions remain concerning who to vaccinate, the duration of protection, cost, public acceptance, and the potential for worldwide distribution.

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