Hi everyone! I’m Benj, one of the debuting writers for the new of improved Froodee! Just like Jhay, this is my first entry so I hope you all keep coming back for more.
The medical field is often always left cold when it comes to media reportage on the cutting edge of scientific research. Sure, they do report health-related issues when the newest “killer virus” is in town, but for the large part, media has neglected the diseases that have been for the longest time.
Take cervical cancer for an example. Statistically, it remains one of the highest causes of mortality among women. The disease is sometimes caused by the Human Papilloma Virus – otherwise known as HPV for short — a sexually-transmitted pathogen that may also cause genital warts. The figures are staggering. Worldwide, virtually all cases of invasive cervical carcinoma (99%) have also been found to be inhabited by HPV.
Though various diagnostic procedures like pap smears have succeeded in increasing awareness about the disease, they only currently serve as a means for early detection in the presence of malignancies. They do not offer any prevention in the progress in pre-malignant and malignant condition nor does it have any therapeutic effect. The prescribed yearly pap smears have of course saved millions of lives thanks to early treatment, but clearly, much more was needed to be done.
Something like a cure – or maybe even a vaccine.
There aren’t any cures yet but science might have taken the first step towards it with the production of the breakthrouh vaccine Gardasil. The drug is currently carried by the pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co. and has been in the market since the middle of 2006. The vaccine works through building up the immunity of an individual who has yet to be exposed to HPV by helping the body produce antibodies that ward off future infections. All press and publications have been favorable towards gardasil’s efficacy, so it’s interesting to see how long term trials would look like for this revolutionary drug.
Gardasil is recommended to be administered to females ages 9 to 25 who have not had contact with the Human Papilloma Virus. Three injections over the course of 6 months are needed to ensure the vaccine’s full efficacy.
In European countries like Germany and Italy, legislation has already been passed to require middle school girls to receive vaccinations before they become sexually active. Due to the sensitive nature of educating girls about sexually-transmitted diseases, similar legislations have encountered roadblocks in the US bureaucracy. Only states like Texas and Virginia have passed the administration of the vaccine into law.
Gardasil is currently priced at a steep $360 per patient or at $120 per dose. Given the promising prevention rate so far, those couple of hundreds may indeed go a long way in saving lives.