Friday, May 30, 2008

Questions About Merck’s Gardasil Vaccine Arise

images The New England Journal of Medicine raised some serious questions about the effectiveness and safety of the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil.

While Gardasil did block almost 100% of infections by two strains of HPV, it actually only reduced the incidence of cervical cancer precursors by 17%.  Since there are other strains of HPV, Gardasil may be giving a false sense of security by allowing these other strains to flourish.

Another issue is the length of the Merck study, which sought to demonstrate the vaccine’s effectiveness. The study only lasted three years, yet HPV is a disease that can take decades to develop.

A safer alternative to the vaccine for young women is to use condoms when having sexual relations. The Journal reported that condoms alone reduced the incidence of HPV by 70%.

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1 comment:

Laura J. said...

With all due respect I think that it is misleading to quote a Dec 2006 article as "recent" when it comes to science. Also, you present it as though the article gave factual info- but it isn't a research article it is an opinion piece/editorial. I won't argue that promotion by a pharmaceutical company raises eyebrows, but the science behind the vaccine is good.