Study Title:

Varicella and herpes zoster vaccine development: lessons learned.

Study Abstract

Before vaccination, varicella zoster virus (VZV), which is endemic worldwide, led to almost universal infection. This neurotropic virus persists lifelong by establishing latency in sensory ganglia, where its reactivation is controlled by VZV-specific T-cell immunity. Lifetime risk of VZV reactivation (zoster) is around 30%. Vaccine development was galvanised by the economic and societal burden of VZV, including debilitating zoster complications that largely affect older individuals. Areas covered: We describe the story of development, licensing and implementation of live attenuated vaccines against varicella and zoster. We consider the complex backdrop of VZV virology, pathogenesis and immune responses in the absence of suitable animal models and examine the changing epidemiology of VZV disease. We review the vaccines' efficacy, safety, effectiveness and coverage using evidence from trials, observational studies from large routine health datasets and clinical post-marketing surveillance studies and outline newer developments in subunit and inactivated vaccines. Expert commentary: Safe and effective, varicella and zoster vaccines have already made major inroads into reducing the burden of VZV disease globally. As these live vaccines have the potential to reactivate and cause clinical disease, developing alternatives that do not establish latency is an attractive prospect but will require better understanding of latency mechanisms.

Varicella; herpes zoster; live attenuated vaccine; post-marketing surveillance; subunit vaccine; vaccine effectiveness; vaccine efficacy; vaccine safety

Study Information

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2017 Oct 30:1-11. doi: 10.1080/14760584.2017.1394843. [Epub ahead of print]

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