MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anthony. L. Cunningham, MD
The Westmead Institute for Medical Research
University of Sydney, Sydney,
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: This study examines the reasons why the HZ subunit vaccine candidate (HZ/su vaccine) consisting of a single viral protein, varicella-zoster glycoprotein E, and and adjuvant (immunostimulant) combination AS01B is so effective as a vaccine to prevent shingles (>90%), especially in those over the age of 70 years and 80 years, as published in recent trials i.e. it combats the declining immunity in the aging which usually restricts vaccine efficacy to under 60% in these age groups.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: It shows that the major stimulatory effects of the v vaccine are on antibody but more importantly a type of white blood cell CD4 T cells and promote the all round function of the latter, 20 fold higher than the previous shingles vaccine. Furthermore this is maintained in the older age groups and is stained for at least 4 years until the end of the study, auguring well for long-term activity of the vaccine.
Readers should be aware that the remarkable efficacy of the vaccine now shown to be through these mechanisms is a ‘new deal’ in vaccines in the older age groups.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Scientists may be able to adjust the immune response like this in other older adult vaccines, using tailored immunostimulants as done here.
Followup studies to determine the long-term efficacy of the vaccine and its effect on the immune response are underway.
Disclosures: I was a triallist for GSK for these vaccines and chair their publications committee and my institution has received honoraria from them.
Anthony L Cunningham Thomas C Heineman Himal Lal Olivier GodeauxRoman Chlibek Shinn-Jang Hwang Janet E McElhaney Timo VesikariCharles Andrews Won Suk Choi et al
The Journal of Infectious Diseases, jiy095, https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiy095
26 February 2018
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