UK drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has confirmed that prescribing information regarding its cervical cancer jab Cervarix has been updated to show that it offers broader protection against the disease.

Cervarix’ original approval showed that the vaccine offers protection against human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18, which together account for around 70% of all cervical cancer cases.

But last week, European regulators agreed to amend the jab’s licence to show that it also provides defence against HPV 31, 33 and 45, and thereby offers protection against around 80% of cases of the disease.

“This suggests that the vaccine may offer women more protection against cervical cancer than had at first been anticipated, and could contribute to meaningful reductions in the overall burden of cervical cancer,” the group said.

GSK has assessed the potential impact in the UK of immunisation in an annual cohort of 12-13 year old girls, which showed that, with 80% vaccine coverage, cross protection among this age group could prevent an additional 148 deaths from cervical cancer a year.