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China approves 1st domestic HPV vaccine

Chinese regulators approved the country's first domestic human papillomavirus vaccine, according to a notice by the National Medical Products Administration.

The vaccine, Cecolin, is developed by private company Xiamen Innovax Biotech Co. Ltd. and Xiamen University, both based in southeast China's Fujian province.

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of more than 200 viruses among which about a dozen can cause cancers including vaginal cancer and cervical cancer.

Cecolin is now approved to help prevent females aged between 9 and 45 years old from infections with HPV types 16 and 18. The two viruses cause about 70% of cervical cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute.

There are three HPV vaccines available worldwide — GlaxoSmithKline PLC's Cervarix and Merck & Co. Inc.'s Gardasil 4 and Gardasil 9. Cervarix targets the same two viruses as Cecolin, while Gardasil 4 can prevent infection with four viruses and Gardasil 9 with nine.

Xiamen Innovax also has an HPV vaccine that targets nine viruses. That vaccine is under phase 2 study, according to the company's website.

Xiamen Innovax, established in 2005, also developed the hepatitis E vaccine Hecolin.