Why Is Creating An Hsv Vaccine So Difficult
Herpesviruses can live in your body undetected, meaning your immune system does not react to them right away. The longer the virus goes undetected, the more difficult it is to make an effective vaccine.
When scientists make vaccines, they target the part of your immune system that recognizes an invader like a virus or bacteria has entered your body. The vaccine then teaches your body how to kill the invader before it makes you sick. If the immune system does not react to HSV right away, a vaccine cannot teach your body how to protect you.
HSV vaccine studies in animals have had good results. But when these vaccines were studied in humans, they did not work as well. Thats when pharmaceutical companies have to restart their research attempts.
What Is Herpes Simplex Virus
HSV is a virus that can cause painful ulcers in your mouth or on your genitals. There are two main herpes simplex viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 infections most commonly affect your mouth, but they may also result in sores on your genitals. HSV-2, on the other hand, primarily affects your genitals. In the U.S., over 50% of adults have HSV-1, and 15% of sexually active people have HSV-2.
Once youve been infected with HSV, the virus stays in your body long term, causing sores or blisters to appear periodically . In rare cases, it can cause life-threatening infections like meningitis and encephalitis.
When you think of herpesviruses, HSV is likely what comes to mind. But both types of HSV are actually part of a larger family of herpesviruses, including:
Our Rating: Missing Context
We rate this claim MISSING CONTEXT because without additional context it might be misleading. An Israeli study found the COVID-19 vaccine may be associated with HZ reactivation in some people with immune conditions, but their findings do not prove a definite link since the number of cases were small and the study was not designed to determine causality. And the type of herpes being discussed here is not the sexually transmitted disease many will associate with that term. Varicella-zoster virus, which causes herpes zoster and chickenpox in children, does not cause genital herpes or cold sores. The infection is caused by reactivation of the virus in people who had the childhood disease.
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Who Should Not Have The Shingles Vaccine
You should not have the shingles vaccine if you’ve had a serious allergic reaction in the past to a previous dose of the shingles vaccine, or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine, or to a previous dose of varicella vaccine.
If you have a weakened immune system a GP or practice nurse will assess which vaccine is suitable for you. Discuss any health concerns with the GP or practice nurse before you have the vaccine.
Zostavax is not suitable for people who have a weakened immune system due to a condition, treatment or medicine.
Herpes Virus Infects Billions Of People Worldwide Why Isn’t There A Vaccine Yet
Billions of people around the world are living with herpes infections, prompting the World Health Organization to call for a vaccine against the incurable virus.
About half a billion people ages 15 to 49 have genital herpes infections, which are mostly caused by herpes simplex virus type 2, which can raise the risk of HIV. Herpes infections can lead to recurring, often painful, blisters. Genital herpes infections plays a significant role in the spread of HIV globally, WHO researchers said in a report released May 1.
In 2016, two-thirds of the world’s population under 50 about 3.7 billion people had herpes simplex virus type 1, which most commonly appears as cold sores in or around the mouth, according to WHO.
“A vaccine against HSV infection would not only help to promote and protect the health and wellbeing of millions of people, particularly women, worldwide, it could also potentially have an impact on slowing the spread of HIV,” Dr. Meg Doherty, director of the WHO’s global HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections programs, said in a statement.
Most cases of genital herpes involve HSV-2, WHO researchers reported. HSV-1 is usually spread by kissing, but it can also be transmitted to the genital area through oral sex. As many as 192 million people worldwide have genital HSV-1 infections.
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Antiviral treatments can reduce outbreaks of genital herpes, but they aren’t a cure.
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What Is The Brand Name Of The Shingles Vaccine
There are 2 shingles vaccines used in the UK:
- Zostavax, a live vaccine given as 1 dose
- Shingrix, a non-live vaccine given as 2 doses, 2 months apart
Most people will have the Zostavax vaccine. The Shingrix vaccine is recommended if Zostavax is not suitable for you, for example if you have a condition that affects your immune system.
You can read more about the shingles vaccines in the patient information leaflets:
Herpes Zoster Infection Not Genital Herpes
The Israeli study was actually evaluating whether mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s shots, are safe for people with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases a group of conditions that affect the body’s joints, bones, muscles and connective tissue since clinical trials have excluded this specific patient group.
The observational study conducted at the Tel Aviv Medical Center and Carmel Medical Center in Haifa monitored 491 people with AIIRD and 99 controls for six weeks after they received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Six women between the ages of 36 and 61 with stable rheumatic diseases developed herpes zoster infection. Five cases occurred after the first dose and one after the second.
With the exception of one woman getting HZ affecting the eyes, all five cases were mild and resolved after antiviral treatment.
“We haven’t seen any additional cases so far,” Dr. Victoria Furer, lead author of the report and rheumatologist at the Tel Aviv Medical Center, told MedPage Today.
HZ is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, part of the same family of viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes. But HZ doesn’t itself cause these conditions.
“Our report does not establish any causality or definite link but draws the attention to a possible association between mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and herpes zoster,” Furer told the Associated Press.
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For Patients Who Previously Received Zostavax
Zostavax is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. Consider the patients age and when he or she received Zostavax to determine when to vaccinate with Shingrix. Studies examined the safety of Shingrix vaccination five or more years after Zostavax vaccination. Shorter intervals were not studied, but there are no theoretical or data concerns to indicate that Shingrix would be less safe or effective if administered less than five years after a patient received Zostavax.You may consider an interval shorter than five years between Zostavax and Shingrix based on the age at which the patient received Zostavax. Differences in efficacy between Shingrix and Zostavax are most pronounced among older patients. Studies have shown that the effectiveness of Zostavax wanes substantially over time, leaving recipients with reduced protection against herpes zoster. For example, the vaccine efficacy among adults age 70 to 79 years and adults age 80 years and older is 41% and 18%, respectively, on average during the first three years following Zostavax vaccination.You should wait at least 8 weeks after a patient received Zostavax to administer Shingrix.
For Patients Who Do Not Report A Prior Episode Of Varicella
When vaccinating adults age 50 years and older, there is no need to screen for a history of varicella infection or to conduct laboratory testing for serologic evidence of prior varicella infection. More than 99% of adults age 50 years and older worldwide have been exposed to varicella zoster virus, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices considers people born in the United States prior to 1980 immune to varicella. Therefore, even if a person does not recall having chickenpox, serologic testing for varicella immunity is not recommended. It is often a barrier to herpes zoster vaccination, and false negatives are common. However, if serologic evidence of varicella susceptibility becomes available to the healthcare provider, providers should follow ACIP guidelines for varicella vaccination. Shingrix has not been evaluated in persons who are seronegative to varicella, and it is not indicated for the prevention of varicella.
A Closer Look At The Safety Data
Both Shingrix and Zostavax shingles vaccines have been shown to be safe and well tolerated. Common side effects, such as soreness and redness at the injection site, are usually mild to moderate in intensity and resolve quickly on their own.
In 8 clinical trials of more than 10,000 participants:
- Grade 3 reactions were common after patients received Shingrix.
- About 1 out of 10 adults who received Shingrix reported grade 3 injection-site symptoms such as pain, redness, and swelling.
- About 1 out of 10 reported grade 3 systemic reactions such as myalgia , fatigue , headache, shivering, fever, and gastrointestinal illness.
- Most people who got Shingrix reported at least some pain at the injection site.
- A 2013 study showed that patients with a history of a previous shingles rash had the same side effects after Zostavax as those with no history of shingles. See Safety of zoster vaccine in elderly adults following documented herpes zosterexternal icon.
Is Herpes Actually A Risk Of The Covid
Okay, so what does this all have to do with the COVID vaccine? The long and short of it is nothing, really, unless you’ve already been infected with any of the herpes viruses – and even more so if you’re immunocompromised, as well.
Both types of herpes viruses discussed here are known to be triggered during times of stress. As with all vaccines, the COVID vaccine causes an immune response – which is essentially a stress response – since your body is coping with and building a defense against invaders. The vaccination could be enough to prompt a reaction or outbreak in people who already have the herpes virus – and it seems to be more of a risk for people who also have a lowered immunity due to AIIRD or other autoimmune conditions in addition to an existing herpes infection. Again, there’s no way for the vaccine to cause herpes it only has the potential to reactivate it if you already have the virus in your body.
And that’s not because the COVID-19 vaccine is doing anything notably crazy to your body. Other common physical and mental stressors – from having a common cold to going through a rough patch at work or a break-up – are thought to be enough to trigger this sort of reactivation in both herpes zoster and simplex, according to research.
“We should not scare people,” Dr. Furer told the outlet. “The overall message is to get vaccinated. It is just important to be aware.”
A Sneaky Virus Called Herpes Zoster
Chicken pox is now preventable with a vaccine, but people born before 1995 probably had the childhood infection, which shows up as itchy red blisters. The virus, called varicella zoster, is part of the herpesvirus family, which includes the genital herpes virus that causes sexually transmitted infections.
After the chicken pox blisters go away, the virus hides out in nerves, ready for a potential reappearance years or decades later as shingles.
Shingles is so common that you have a 1 in 3 chance of developing it by age 80 unless you get Shingrix, the four-year-old GlaxoSmithKline vaccine that is 90% effective at preventing it.
None of the six Israeli women, ages 36 to 61, had gotten Shingrix.
What makes herpes zoster flare into a shingles outbreak? Its unclear, but outbreaks have been linked to something weve all been feeling during the pandemic: stress.
Another risk factor is having a weakened immune system. All six of the women had autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and were taking drugs that suppress the immune system. They were among 491 patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases that the researchers followed after vaccination, so the prevalence of post-vaccination shingles was 1.2%.