New Delhi: GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (GSK) announced the launch of Shingrix (Zoster Vaccine Recombinant, Adjuvanted) in India on Monday. The vaccine is aimed at the prevention of shingles (herpes zoster) and post-herpetic neuralgia in adults aged 50 years and older.
Shingrix is the world’s first non-live, recombinant subunit vaccine to be given intramuscularly in two doses, the company said in a statement. The vaccine, Shingrix, as per the company, can provide at least 10 years of protection against shingles, which is caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox.
On the launch, Bhushan Akshikar, Managing Director, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited, said, “GSK is pleased to bring Shingrix to protect India’s 260 million adults above 50 years of age from shingles and its complications. Existing treatment options may not give complete relief from this pain. Vaccination is the only effective preventive option. We are pleased to add Shingrix to our adult vaccination portfolio and make it available across the nation.”
The vaccine has proven efficacy of more than 90 per cent against shingles, the statement added. Shingrix was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of shingles in adults 50 years of age or older in 2017. In 2018, the European Commission gave Shingrix approval for the prevention of shingles in adults 50 years of age or older.
A seroprevalence study in Indian subjects showed that by the age of 40, more than 90 per cent had this virus in their bodies and were vulnerable to shingles. Shingles cause a painful rash. In all cases, the rash disappears, but in a large number of cases, the pain persists for months or years. This pain is known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).
Adults over 50 years of age and those suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease are at an increased risk of developing shingles because of weakened immunity. Shingles can also lead to complications such as vision loss and hearing loss in older adults. The company claims that since Shingrix is a non-live vaccine, it can be offered to those above the age of 50 who are immunocompromised and/or immunosuppressed and who are potentially at a greater risk of Shingles disease.