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Papers of the Week

2019 Jul 12

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci



Zoster vaccination in older adults: efficacy and public health implications.


McElhaney JE, Verschoor C, Pawelec G
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Jul 12; 74(8):1239-1243.
PMID: 30945744.


Shingles and its most common disabling complication, post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), represents a serious public health challenge in the older population. The decline in the T-cell-mediated immune response to Varicella Zoster Virus after age 50 is clearly associated with increased risk of viral reactivation, causing an acutely painful zoster rash which may have a severe prodrome of dermatomal pain and persist as seriously debilitating PHN well beyond the resolution of the rash. However, new vaccines and adjuvants are being developed and trialed, and are now more effective in preventing shingles and the sequelae of PHN. Those vaccines that possess the ability to enhance antigen presentation and reverse memory T cell exhaustion, as well as diminish the immune suppressive effects of regulatory T cells, are most likely to be effective in older adults.