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September 20, 2007

Merck Says Gardasil Works Better Than They Thought

A new study by Merck, the makers of Gardasil, has found that Gardasil protects against more strains of HPV than previously thought.

The vaccine was previously known to protect against four strains of the virus - 16, 18, 6, and 11. The new study shows that it may also protect against 10 other strains of the virus.

Despite the new findings that show increased protection, doctors point to an important limitation of the vaccine — it is only 39 percent effective against lesions caused by these other strains of HPV. The majority of that efficacy was seen in just two of the other 10 strains, notes Harper.

However, physicians are still optimistic about the new findings and hope additional coverage will eventually help reduce cervical cancer rates.

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