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Rabbits, Cows, Nuns, Jews: Development of HPV Vaccine

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to serious complications, including genital warts and cervical cancer.    Approximately 20 million americans are infected with HPV, with another 6 million becoming infected each year.   Each year, about 12,000 women get cervical cancer, and about 5,000 are expected to die from it.

Fortunately, today there are two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, that can be used by women to prevent most cervical cancers.    The vaccines prevent the infection, they are not cure.  For this reason, they are recommended before girls have their first sexual contact, at ages 11 or 12.   The vaccine has nearly 100% effectiveness.  

Are you planning to give the gift of nearly 100% effective cervical cancer prevention to your daughter?

If you think so, then you have to learn the story how cow warts, rabbit horns, nun and jews played a key role in the discovery of the vaccine.   You can to learn how the story led to an experiment showing that rabbits that were given the vaccine were all cancer free, while 95% of those that received placebo had cancerous lesions.  Dr. Lowy, of the National Cancer Institute, had these simple words on the outcome of this experiment:  “The fact that it worked so well was just incredible”.

So, are you now going to give the gift of nearly 100% effective prevention for cervical cancer to your daughter despite the fact that it involved animal research?  

Opponents of research will surely minimize the work calling it an “anecdote”, but it looks to me like this is one anecdote that can save your daughter’s life.


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