GSK’s Herpes Zoster Vaccine Shingrix Reduced Illness by 90%

Adjuvanted recombinant shingles vaccine GSK1437173A significantly reduced herpes zoster illness

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The new herpes zoster shingles vaccine Shingrix may deliver better protection than initially forecasted.

A new analysis of recent phase 3 clinical trials, the Herpes Zoster vaccine GSK1437173A was found effective more than 90 percent of the time in two patient cohorts.

The estimated overall vaccine efficacy (VE) in reducing shingles illness was 98.4 percent in the first study and 92.1 percent in the pooled analysis.

But, the VE in reducing shingles burden of illness was lower (82.2%) in patients over 80 years of age.

These findings were the conclusion of Phase III trials, ZOE-50 and ZOE-70.

These researchers reported the ZOE-50 results separately. And, ZOE-70 was a pooled analysis of patients aged 70 years and older from the trials combined.

Herpes zoster results from latent varicella-zoster virus (VZV) reactivation in sensory ganglia years after primary infection.

Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common HZ complication, is a persistent chronic neuropathic pain. PHN development is seen in less than 30 percent of adults aged 50+ years.  

Unfortunately, the frequency, duration, and severity of PHN and other HZ-complications increase as we get older.

Recombinant subunit vaccines are an alternative to live-attenuated vaccines and may also be suitable for persons with immunosuppression because the risk of disease resulting from replication of the vaccine virus is prevented, said researchers in a separate, previous study

The Shingrix recombinant subunit vaccine (HZ/su, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals) contains VZV glycoprotein E and the AS01B adjuvant system. VZV glycoprotein E was selected as a candidate vaccine antigen because it is essential for viral replication and cell-to-cell spread and is a primary target of VZV-specific immune responses.

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This antigen was combined with AS01B because this adjuvant system promotes strong CD4+ T-cell and humoral immune responses against recombinant proteins.

A live-attenuated vaccine against herpes zoster (Zostavax) containing the Oka VZV strain is licensed in the USA for use in adults who are 50 years of age or older.

Zostavax showed 51.3 percent efficacy against HZ and 66.5 percent efficacy against postherpetic neuralgia in participants who were 60 years of age or older.

However, Zostavax efficacy against herpes zoster decreased with age.

To better understand the difference between Shingrix and Zostavax, a one-page reference was created for anyone’s review.

These shingles vaccines are available at most pharmacies.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides current vaccine information.

Vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.