HealthDay News — Recipients of the herpes zoster subunit vaccine (HZ/su), consisting of varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein E (gE) and AS01B Adjuvant System, develop robust immune responses, according to a study published in the June 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Anthony L. Cunningham, MD, from the University of Sydney, and colleagues presented immunogenicity results from 2 trials involving patients aged 50 years or older and aged 70 years or older who received 2 doses of HZ/su or placebo 2 months apart. In subcohorts with 3,293 and 466 participants for humoral and cell-mediated immunogenicity, respectively, serum anti-gE antibodies and CD4 T-cells expressing 2 or more of 4 activation  markers assessed after stimulation with gE-peptides were measured. 

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The researchers identified a humoral response in 97.8 and 2% of HZ/su and placebo recipients, respectively, after vaccination. At 1 and 36 months post-dose 2, geometric mean anti-gE antibody concentrations increased 39.1- and 8.3-fold, respectively, over baseline in HZ/su recipients. In 93.3 and 0% of HZ/su and placebo recipients, respectively, there was a gE-specific CD42+ T-cell response. In HZ/su recipients, median CD42+ T-cell frequencies increased 24.6- and 7.9-fold over baseline at one and 36 months, respectively; in all age groups, the frequency remained ≥5.6-fold above baseline at 36 months. In all age groups there was an increase in the proportion of CD4 T-cells expressing all four activation markers over time.

“Most HZ/su recipients developed robust immune responses persisting for three years following vaccination,” the authors write.

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Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals SA, which funded the study.

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