By Michelle Fay Cortez
Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) — Merck & Co.’s vaccine for warding off a virus that causes cervical cancer in women also reduces infection rates and genital warts in young men, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
A company-funded clinical trial involving 4,065 sexually active teenagers and men in their 20s found genital lesions developed in 36 given Gardasil, compared with 89 who received a placebo. The shot was more effective, preventing 90 percent of warts, when researchers looked only at those who weren’t infected at the start of the study and received all three doses of the vaccine.
Today’s study results may bolster use of Gardasil, which was approved by U.S. regulators to avert human papillomavirus infections and the cancers it causes in girls in 2006 and in boys in 2009. Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declined to recommend routine use of the shot in boys, in part because the benefits don’t justify the costs, said Jane Kim of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.