Background: The herpes zoster subunit vaccine (HZ/su), consisting of varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein E (gE) and AS01B Adjuvant System, was highly efficacious in preventing herpes zoster in the ZOE-50 and ZOE-70 trials. We present immunogenicity results from those trials.
Methods: Participants (ZOE-50: ≥50; ZOE-70: ≥70 years of age) received 2 doses of HZ/su or placebo, 2 months apart. Serum anti-gE antibodies and CD4 T cells expressing ≥2 of 4 activation markers assessed (CD42+) after stimulation with gE-peptides were measured in subcohorts for humoral (n = 3293) and cell-mediated (n = 466) immunogenicity.
Results: After vaccination, 97.8% of HZ/su and 2.0% of placebo recipients showed a humoral response. Geometric mean anti-gE antibody concentrations increased 39.1-fold and 8.3-fold over baseline in HZ/su recipients at 1 and 36 months post-dose 2, respectively. A gE-specific CD42+ T-cell response was shown in 93.3% of HZ/su and 0% of placebo recipients. Median CD42+ T-cell frequencies increased 24.6-fold (1 month) and 7.9-fold (36 months) over baseline in HZ/su recipients and remained ≥5.6-fold above baseline in all age groups at 36 months. The proportion of CD4 T cells expressing all 4 activation markers increased over time in all age groups.
Conclusions: Most HZ/su recipients developed robust immune responses persisting for 3 years following vaccination.