In December, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new HPV vaccine, Gardasil 9® manufactured by Merck and Company.
The new vaccine covers nine HPV types: the two low-risk types that cause most cases of genital warts (HPV 6 and HPV 11) along with seven high-risk types (HPV 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58) found in a number of cancers, including about 90% of cervical cancers around the world.
HPV vaccines have been on the market in the U.S. since 2006, when the first version of Gardasil® was approved. This was followed in 2009 with the approval of GlaxoSmithKline’s Cervarix® vaccine.
The original Gardasil® and Cervarix® both protect against HPV 16 and 18 (with the first Gardasil also including protection against HPV 6 and 11).
Gardasil 9® can be used with females ages 9-26 to prevent cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal cancers, and genital warts. The vaccine also has the green light for use with males 9-15 to prevent anal cancers and genital warts. The vaccine doesn’t cover all HPV types, though, so it’s important for women to continue having cervical cancer screening (e.g., Pap tests) as recommended. Go here for more on cervical cancer screening.
ASHA president and CEO Lynn Barclay hails the vaccine as a much needed addition to the prevention toolbox: “With over 14 million new cases of HPV in the U.S. each year, a vaccine that covers nine HPV types is literally a shot in the arm for public health. This exponentially increases our ability to prevent not only a wide array of cancers, but also reduce the disease burden of genital warts.”