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Human Testing Begins On Vaccine For Virus

Wed., Feb. 12, 1997

Human testing has begun on a vaccine to prevent infection from a sexually transmitted virus that is believed to cause cervical cancer.

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center gave the vaccine last week to the first two of about 100 people expected to participate in the yearlong test, said Dr. Richard Reichmann, who is leading the study.

If the vaccine works, it could have immense health and business ramifications.

The human papillomavirus is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the United States. Researchers estimate that 1 percent of those infected with the virus develop cancer.

An estimated 24 million to 40 million men and women in the United States are believed to be infected with the virus, which is primarily transmitted sexually. Women can pass it on to their children during childbirth.

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