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NIAID launches major step in trial of experimental shingles vaccine

hearing loss, may also occur.

As people who have had chickenpox age, their body's ability to suppress the virus is compromised, making them more susceptible to shingles. Once they have had shingles, they seldom have a recurrence, suggesting that the episode boosts immunity which then keeps the virus in check.

"We believe that by boosting the body's immune response with this vaccine - mimicking a naturally occurring case of zoster - shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia may be prevented," said Norberto Emilio Soto, M.D., principal investigator on the study.

The national trial of approximately 20 medical centers is recruiting a total of 37,000 volunteers - 1,800 in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area - and is funded by the Veterans Administration, Merck & Co., and NIAID.

Volunteers Needed

People are invited to participate in this medical research study if they:

  • are age 60 or older;
  • have had chickenpox;
  • are in good general health--for example, do not have cancer, an immune deficiency or depressed immunity; and
  • have never had shingles.

Those interested in participating or obtaining more information should call 1-800-411-1222. Extra copies of flyers for recruiting study participants, and fact sheets on shingles and the shingles prevention study, may be obtained by calling 1-800-772-5464 ext. 658. Media interested in attending the event on June 17 at the NIH Clinical Center should call the NIAID press office to make arrangements.


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Contact: Ellen O'Donnell
eodonnell@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
15-Jun-1999


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