Written by By Michael Knighton, CNN
Canada has approved Pfizer’s new vaccine to help prevent genital herpes, the Canadian health department announced. The vaccine was developed by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and Canadian pharmaceutical company Selecta Biosciences. It will be marketed under the name Prevenar 13.
According to the the World Health Organization, the condition affects some 150 million people worldwide and there are 250,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
The majority of people infected with genital herpes require no treatment and are not chronically ill. However, the vaccine can prevent genital herpes in about 20% of people, and has a much lower rate of side effects, according to the WHO.
Two studies were conducted in Canada over a 14-year period: a placebo-controlled, randomized trial of 1,455 people that excluded women who were at a high risk of developing genital herpes and those who are homeless, pregnant or in a monogamous relationship; and an intensive, exploratory trial of 2,000 persons with herpes but without genital sores.
The vaccines will be covered by Canada’s Evidence Guidance Committee.
Although the company does not yet plan to make the drug available to Canadians through pharmacies, it has already received regulatory approval from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Canada’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Working Group and Australia.