British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline said Tuesday it was working with health authorities here probing the death of a schoolgirl following a cervical cancer vaccination.
The 14-year-old died on Monday after an adverse reaction to the Cervarix vaccine at her school in Coventry, central England, as part of a national vaccination to protect women against the disease.
Health authorities have isolated the batch of vaccine used in the school involved against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually-transmitted virus which is the primary cause of cervical cancer.
"The incident happened shortly after the girl had received her HPV vaccine in the school," said Dr. Caron Grainger, joint head of public health for the National Health Service (NHS) in Coventry and Coventry City Council.
"No link can be made between the death and the vaccine until all the facts are known and a post-mortem takes place."
She added: "We are conducting an urgent and full investigation into the events surrounding this tragedy."
In a statement GSK, which produces Cervarix, said it was working with health authorities "to better understand this case, as at this stage the exact cause of this tragic death is unknown.
"As a precautionary measure, the batch of vaccine involved has been quarantined until the situation is fully understood," it said, noting that over 1.4 million doses of Cervarix have been given in Britain.
And it added: "To date the vast majority of suspected adverse reactions (to Cervarix) have related either to the signs and symptoms of recognised side effects listed in the product information or were due to the injection process and not the vaccine itself."
Awareness of cervical cancer was boosted earlier this year by the death from the disease of a reality television star, Jade Goody, who garnered publicity notably for the need for women to have regular cervical smear tests.
(c) 2009 AFP
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