Saturday Nov 19, 201102:01 PM GMT
Cervical cancer vaccine for poor nations
Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:3PM
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The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) has announced plans to fund cervical cancer shots for up to two million women and girls in poor countries by 2015.


According to a recent report released by the GAVI, by 2015 about two million women and girls in nine developing countries might be immunized against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes some 275,000 deaths each year from cervical cancer, 88 percent of them in developing countries.

“The HPV vaccine is critical to women and girls in poorer countries because they usually do not have access to screening to prevent cervical cancer and treatment taken for granted in richer nations,” said GAVI's chief executive Seth Berkley.

The Geneva-based group stated that the initiative of the plan has been approved at a board meeting in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka, adding that it could not immediately name the countries likely to get the vaccines.

The new program still depends on the ongoing negotiations between the GAVI and the manufacturers over the final price of the vaccine.

The US drugmaker Merck said earlier this year that it would offer its Gardasil shot at a deeply discounted price of 5 dollars per dose, implying a cost of 15 dollars for a three-dose course.

The global vaccines group also agreed to seek funds for hundreds of millions of shots against the German measles or rubella -- a mild childhood infection which can cause miscarriage, stillbirth and birth defects if transmitted to pregnant women.

The GAVI Alliance includes the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the vaccine industry and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among other partners.

SJM/PKH
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