FDA approves Gardasil 9 vaccine for 9 HPV types

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Gardasil 9 vaccine for preventing certain diseases caused by nine types of human papillomavirus (HPV).

Covering nine HPV types, five more HPV types than previously approved for Gardasil, Gardasil 9 has the potential to prevent about 90% of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers, the FDA said.

"Vaccination is a critical public health measure for lowering the risk of most cervical, genital and anal cancers caused by HPV," stated Karen Midthun, MD, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in a press release. "The approval of Gardasil 9 provides broader protection against HPV-related cancers."

HPV has also been causally linked to oropharyngeal cancers.

The Center for Oral Health recommends the HPV vaccine for all children between the ages of 10 and 14, as studies have shown the vaccine is most effective before the start of sexual activity, and the vaccine does not clear infections acquired before vaccination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all 11- or 12-year-old girls receive the vaccine in three doses.

Gardasil 9 is manufactured by Merck Sharp & Dohme, a subsidiary of Merck & Co. Vaccinations against HPV strains 16 and 18 currently available include Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline) and Gardasil (Merck Sharp & Dohme).

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