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- GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals (GSK) has launched the shingles vaccine, Shingrix, in India.
Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is a viral infection that causes an outbreak of painful rash or blisters on the skin.
- Shingles (Herpes zoster) is caused by the reactivation of the Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Where does shingles come from?
- When we have chickenpox as a child, our body fights off the varicella-zoster virus and the physical signs of chickenpox fade away, but the virus always remains in our body. In adulthood, sometimes the virus becomes active again.
- This time, the Varicella-Zoster Virus makes its second appearance in the form of shingles.
- The chickenpox virus doesn’t leave the body after one gets chickenpox.
- Instead, the virus stays in a portion of your spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion.
- For the majority of people, the virus stays there quietly and doesn't cause problems.
- Researchers aren't always sure why the virus gets reactivated, but this typically occurs at times of stress.
Symptoms of shingles
Early symptoms of shingles may include:
- Feeling tired.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Stomach upset.
Other signs and symptoms that appear a few days after the early symptoms include:
- An itching, tingling, or burning feeling in an area of your skin.
- Redness on your skin in the affected area.
- Raised rash in a small area of your skin.
- Fluid-filled blisters that break open then scab over.
- Mild to severe pain in the area of skin affected.
Who is at risk for getting shingles?
People who have had chickenpox who are more likely to develop shingles include those:
- With a weakened immune system (such as people with cancer, HIV, organ transplant recipients or those receiving chemotherapy).
- Over the age of 50.
- Who have been ill.
- Who have experienced trauma.
- Who are under stress.
Note: One can get shingles more than one time.
How are shingles treated?
- There is no cure for shingles but there are treatments for managing the symptoms.
- Existing treatment options may not give complete relief from this pain.
- Vaccination is the only effective preventive option.
Vaccines to prevent Shingles
- Two vaccines are available in the United States to reduce your chance of developing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia.
- One vaccine, Zostavax®, has been available since 2006.
- The second vaccine, Shingrix®, has been available since 2017. Shingrix is recommended as the preferred vaccine by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of medical and public health experts.
- Shingrix is a zoster vaccine recombinant adjuvanted vaccine given intramuscularly in two doses.
- Shingrix was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and European Commission for the prevention of shingles in adults above 50 years.
Shingrix Vaccine in India
- As mentioned earlier, GSK India announced the much-awaited launch of its globally top-selling shingles vaccine Shingrix in India. The vaccine is priced between $ 400-500 in the US.
- The vaccine had 90% efficacy and provided at least 10 years of protection against shingles.
- Shingrix would be available across the country.
- The Shingrix vaccine could protect India’s 260 million adults above 50 years from shingles and its complications.
Q. Which of the following statements are correct with reference to Shingles?
a) Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is a viral infection that causes an outbreak of painful rash or blisters on the skin.
b) Shingles (Herpes zoster) is caused by the reactivation of the Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox.
c) Children below 5 years of age who have had chickenpox are more likely to develop shingles.
d) There is no cure for shingles and there is no vaccine for it either.
1. a and b only
2. b and c only
3. c and d only
4. All of the above.
Correct Answer: Option 1