Researchers for Merck & Co., one of two companies that are in the final stages of developing an HPV vaccine, reported this week that their vaccine may protect older women against strains of HPV they have not yet been exposed to.
The research and public focus of the HPV vaccines (the other is being developed by GlaxoSmithKline) have thus far been on girls. To be most effective in protecting against cervical cancer, girls would have to be vaccinated prior to engaging in sexual behavior. Some U.S. Christian based organizations have already suggested they will oppose the vaccine, despite the fact that it will provide significant protection against cervical cancer.
As reported in the Guardian,
The results issued yesterday by Merck & Co at the Eurogin conference in Paris were from an analysis of trial data relating to those older participants who tested positive for one or more strain of HPV.
"In most cases women don't know if they have already been exposed to human papilloma virus or not. Based on our findings, women already exposed could also benefit from vaccination with Gardasil," said Daron Ferris, researcher and director of the Gynaecologic Cancer Prevention Centre at the Medical College of Georgia.
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