People who were given the 2-dose Shingrix vaccine recorded an 88 percent reduction in the risks of developing shingles, four years after vaccination. When the stage was approaching its final trial, there was a reduction of 91 percent. That is according to results published in the New England Journal of Medicine. People aged more than 70 years recorded effectiveness of 90 percent after they received the injection.

Clinical trials of GSK indicated greater protection of elderly patients compared to the patients injected with Merck & Co’s rival Zostavax vaccine. This drug is one of those that GSK has placed most of its hope. It has plans to make an application for the U.S., European and Japanese approval later on this year. The first the market may start getting it will be in 2017.
The New England Journal of Medicine has got the latest four-year data on Shingrix. This data may be a big boost in offering an additional significant advantage as its effectiveness is kept constant overtime.

A big step in elderly vaccination

While being interviewed on telephone, Dr. Anthony Cunningham from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Australia said that “It’s a real step forward for vaccination for elderly patients.” He is also a lead author of the study.
As one gains more age, the efficacy of Zostavax reduces. For adults aged more than 79 years, it drops to 18 percent compared to 70 percent for people aged below 50. A study done by Kaiser Permanente concluded that this was 69 percent effective for patients aged 60 and over but only 4.2 percent of them continued to enjoy protection 7 years down the line. That thus requires the CPR healthcare provider to be somewhat more vigilant.
But according to this research conducted on 13,900 volunteers, no such decline was found in GSK’s vaccine.
The department of infectious disease at the Cleveland Clinic vice chairwoman, Dr. Susan Rehm, said that even though the study followed up for only four years, the subsequent years still indicated very little decline after the vaccination. Susan was not involved in the study.
The previous report by GSK was that patients aged 69 and above still enjoyed a 90 percent protection.
Dr. Marie Griffin of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dr. Kathleen Neuzil of the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine wrote in a Journal editorial in which they said that the effectiveness was maintained all throughout the trial period. The working of this among people in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s is recommendable. In addition, it was able to block residual pain resulting from shingles in 89% of the patients.

What causes the elderly more vulnerable?

As one grows older, the risk of shingles – which is triggered by reactivation of the chicken pox viruses – also becomes more frequent. The United States records on a yearly basis about 1 million cases of shingles. That is according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Analysts predict that by 2021, Shingrix sales will have risen to about $1.2 billion globally. The vaccine has a component of U.S. biotech Agenus Inc but lacks any live virus.