A new shingles vaccine will be on the market within two years — and unlike the current one, the new shot will be nearly 100% effective and not weaken over time.
Shingles is a painful rash of blisters that can engulf the whole body. Anyone who’s ever had chicken pox is at risk of shingles. Once you get chicken pox, the disease never leaves your body. As you age, your immune system weakens and the disease can reactivate as shingles.
There is a vaccine now, but that one is only 64% effective and it weakens over time. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control only recommends it for people 60 and over — and by the time they turn 70, the current vaccine is only 38% effective.
The new vaccine adds something called an adjuvant — a chemical that “wakes up” the immune system. It’s been used effectively in other vaccines and, in the case of shingles, allows the immune systems of elderly people in their 80s to better keep the virus at bay.
(READ more at NPR News) — Photo: CDC, Public Health Image Library
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