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Originally published April 20 2008

Merck Now Hyping Gardasil for Older Women

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Pharmaceutical corporation Merck & Co., Inc., is advertising the results of a recent trial that found its human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil to be effective in women between the ages of 25 and 45.

HPV is a common virus group, the members of which are responsible for a variety of health conditions including warts, genital warts and cervical cancer. In most cases, HPV infection is eliminated by the body's immune system without any harm being done. Certain varieties, however, are known to lead to cervical cancer.

Gardasil is a vaccine that immunizes a patient against infection by four different varieties of HPV - two that cause cervical cancer and two that cause genital warts. The vaccine has been approved for use in women up to age 26 and in girls as young as 9, although no tests have actually been performed to determine its effectiveness on children.

To support the drug's effectiveness on women up to age 45, Merck cites a recent international, multi-center trial, the results of which were presented at the 24th International Papillomavirus Conference in Beijing. In a test on 3,800 women, researchers found that the HPV vaccine reduced persistent HPV infection by 91 percent. The drug reduced the occurrence of low-grade cervical abnormalities, persistent infection, pre-cancers and external genital lesions from HPV strains 16 and 18 by 83 percent, and reduced those caused by strains 6 and 11 by 100 percent.

The researchers estimated that the vaccine prevented 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts in the test population.

Side effects included redness, pain, swelling, warmth and itching at the injection site.

All tests were carried out only against HPV strains 6, 11, 16 and 18 on women who were not infected with any of the strains either at the beginning or end of the study. Gardasil is ineffective against any other strain of HPV, and offers no protection against any strain that the patient is infected with when the vaccine is administered.

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