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FDA Approves Cervarix Vaccine

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The cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, drug maker GlaxoSmithKline said Friday. The company expects to launch the vaccine in the United States later this year.

U.S. approval of Cervarix, already sold in nearly 100 other nations, was delayed since 2007 because the FDA wanted additional data from Glaxo, the Associated Press reported. Merck's cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil has been available in the United States since 2006.

Both vaccines block human papilloma virus (HPV) strains 16 and 18, which cause 75 percent of cervical cancers. Cervarix is also 70 percent effective in blocking other HPV strains that can cause cancer.

The price for Cervarix in the United States has not been discussed by Glaxo, the AP reported.

In 2008, nearly 4,000 women died of cervical cancer in the United States.

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