Thumbs Up for Cervical Cancer Vaccine
FDA Advisory Panel Recommends Approval of Vaccine Called Gardasil
Experts also urged Merck and the FDA to conduct longer-term studies on
Gardasil, because researchers still don’t know how long immunity will last.
“There are going to be questions of what lays down the line in the way of
boosting requirements,” said Pamela McInnes, director of the Center for
Integrative Biology and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of
Health and a member of the FDA panel.
Barr said that the company planned to track thousands of Norwegian women who
received the vaccine.
Merck is seeking to market the drug for HPV prevention in girls as young as
9 years old. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises
the federal government on vaccination policies, is set to meet next month. The
panel will likely consider whether HPV vaccine should be added to list of
recommended and required childhood immunizations, Barr said.
News of the vaccine’s development has also prompted conservative Christian
groups to question its potential to undermine abstinence messages by making sex
Peter S. Sprigg, vice president of the Family Research Council, called the
potential marketing of Gardasil a “positive development.”
“But we would be concerned if this were administered with a message that,
‘Hey, it’s now save for you to have sex,’” he tells WebMD.