Impressive results for a new vaccine

Impressive results for a new vaccine

1600 1076 Camilla Norrmén, PhD

Experts are enthusiastic about a new shingles vaccine that received FDA approval last month. Shingrix is significantly more effective than the only currently available shingles vaccine and provides considerably longer protection.

Shingles is a painful blistering skin rash that may lead to long-term nerve pain, called postherpetic neuralgia. Caused by the varicella zoster virus, which stays dormant in the body after having had chickenpox, shingles can erupt decades later; the risk of developing shingles rises sharply after 50. Until now, there has been only one available vaccine for shingles  Zostavax. Zostavax prevents only about half of shingles cases, and its effectiveness drops significantly with age. The new vaccine, Shingrix, developed by GlaxoSmithKline, offers an efficacy of more than 90% and stays effective well past the age of 70. Shingrix was approved by the FDA last month, while EMA approval is still pending.

If you would like to check out the original publication, click here and for some more information surrounding the hype on the FDA approval, here is a recent article from the New York Times.


Lal H et al., ‘Efficacy of an Adjuvanted Herpes Zoster Subunit Vaccine in Older Adults’, The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 372, 2015, pp.2087-2096.

Span P, ‘No Excuses, People: Get the New Shingles Vaccine’, The New York Times, Nov. 10, 2017.

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