January 4, 2015
According to a report, “positive results have emerged from the Zoster Efficacy study, which started in August 2010 and was conducted in more than 16,000 adults aged 50 years and over. It remains ongoing in 18 countries.” (1) Results of the study showed that during the 4 years of the study, the shingles vaccine HZ/su “reduced the risk of shingles by 97.2 percent in adults aged 50 years and older compared to placebo.” (1)
Alain Brecx, vaccine development leader at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said that “this candidate vaccine may offer an important option for the prevention of shingles, a painful disease that negatively impacts peoples’ health and quality of life.” (1)
The CDC notes that the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which is a herpes virus, causes both chickenpox and shingles. “After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. For reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.” (2)
Additionally, the CDC adds that “almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, in their lifetime. There are an estimated 1 million cases of shingles each year in this country. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox may develop shingles; even children can get shingles. However the risk of shingles increases as you get older. About half of all cases occur in men and women 60 years old or older.” (2)
Although this vaccine research is very encouraging, (a vaccine that improves on the efficacy offered by Zostavax would be an important step forward) completing the development and approving a vaccine through the FDA may take time.
Until then, we encourage VZV infected individuals to consider natural antivirals that help the immune system to target the latent form of the virus.
-The Target Shingles Team
(1) Zenopa.com – “GlaxoSmithKline reports positive data from shingles vaccine trial.” Published on December 24, 2014.
(2) CDC.gov – “Shingles (Herpes Zoster)” – Prevention & Treatment. Last Reviewed on May 1, 2014.