The same subunit vaccine was studied in elderly patients, aged 50 and older, and the results look promising. The overall vaccine efficacy in preventing zoster was 97%, much better than that of the currently approved zoster vaccine. It also appears to be safe—with no difference in terms of incidence of major side effects compared [with] placebo.1
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Q: Any other key takeaways for rheumatologists?
A: Infectious complications and reactivation of latent infections are a major concern when manipulating the immune system. The knowledge gained from the use of these new drugs—and we continue to learn a lot about these new drugs—would help us develop better prevention strategies. The development of better, safer and more immunogenic vaccines would, hopefully, solve most of these issues in the future.
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.
- Lal H, Cunningham AL, Godeaux O, et al. Efficacy of an adjuvanted herpes zoster subunit vaccine in older adults. N Engl J Med. 2015 May 28;372(22):2087–2096. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1501184. Epub 2015 Apr 28.