Sunday, August 30, 2009

Variety of Pap virus is consistent across continents, vaccines should be effective around the world

The distribution of the different types of human papilloma virus that cause cervical cancer are consistent across the world, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This means that the vaccines that are currently available to protect against the two most prevalent types of HPV could prevent about 70 percent of invasive cervical cancer cases not just in the U.S, but around the world.

The researchers report that HPV16 is the most common and HPV18 is the second-most common typie in all continents. Gardasil by Merck protects against both of these types as does a similar vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline.

Lead study author Jennifer Smith, Ph.D cautions, "While having these vaccines represents a significant step forward, HPV-vaccinated women will need to receive clear messages that they still need to obtain their recommended Pap smears for cervical cancer prevention, given that HPV vaccines will not prevent all invasive cancer or high-grade lesions."

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