A new version of Sanofi Pasteur MSD’s Gardasil has been approved by European regulators for protection against nine strains of the human papillomavirus, covering more types than any other HPV vaccine on the market. 

Gardasil 9 has been cleared for active immunisation of both females and males from the age of nine against premalignant lesions and cancers affecting the cervix, vulva, vagina or anus and also against genital warts caused by the 9 HPV types covered by the vaccine.

The seven high-risk HPV types in Gardasil 9 cause around 90% of cervical cancer, 90% of HPV related anal cancer and 80% of high-grade cervical lesions worldwide, while the two lower-risk types, HPV 6 and 11, are responsible for around 90% of genital wart cases, the firm noted.

According to Jean-Paul Kress, Sanofi Pasteur MSD’s president, the vaccine is “a significant step forward” for public health. “By vaccinating boys and girls we can prevent not only 90% of cervical cancers but also implement effective immunisation programs to address other types of HPV related diseases such as anal, vulvar and vaginal cancers for which there is no current systematic screening,” he said.

The safety and efficacy of Gardasil 9, which was cleared by US regulators late last year, was tested in 15,000 males and females. It’s predecessor Gardasil has been on the market since 2006.