9-valent HPV vaccine approved for wider age range of Chinese females
MSD China announced on Tuesday that it has received approval from China's National Medical Products Administration to extend the use of its 9-valent vaccine against HPV for females between the ages of 9 and 45.
Cervical cancer is one of the most common and lethal cancers among women. A recent report showed that in 2020, among Chinese women between the ages of 15 and 44, both the incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer rank third among female cancers. In China, about 98 percent of cervical cancers are caused by high-risk HPVs.
In a statement released by Merck yesterday, Qiao Youlin, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College's School of Population Medicine and Public Health, said if adolescent girls are vaccinated against HPV, it is easy to stimulate a better immune response, and women who have not had sex will achieve the best preventive effect.
According to the World Health Organization's recommendation, girls between the ages of 9 and 14 should be the primary vaccination group, and the earlier the vaccination the better the effect, Yicai news reported.
Anna Van Acker, senior vice president of MSD and president of MSD in China, said the expansion of the applicable age of the 9-valent HPV vaccine demonstrates the determination of the Chinese government to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer, according to the company statement.
It added it will increase the availability of HPV vaccines by expanding global production capacity and increasing supplies to the Chinese market, the statement said.
Previously, MSD's 9-valent HPV vaccine was only approved for Chinese women between the ages of 16 and 26. Women over the age of 26 could only receive 4- or 2-valent HPV vaccines.
The three types of vaccines – 2-, 4- and 9-valent – were named after the number of viral strains they protect against.
In 2021, China introduced a pilot program to promote the use of HPV vaccines and improve the rate and quality of cervical cancer screening nationwide. The country has included a cervical cancer screening program in major national public health services since 2009.