Date: September 17, 2013
Location: Princeton Marriott (Princeton, NJ)

5:30 pm Reception and Networking
6:30 pm Welcome and Presentations
8:00 pm Adjourn

Subunit Antigen Vaccines for Herpes Simplex Virus and Varicella Zoster Virus

Two papers will be presented that evaluate different subunit antigen vaccines, one for herpes simplex and the other for zoster. The vaccine for herpes simplex attempts to induce high titers of neutralizing antibodies to prevent primary infection, while the zoster vaccine targets T-cell responses in an effort to prevent relapses of the chickenpox virus.

Overview: Herpes simplex virus is the leading cause of genital ulcer disease worldwide. First time infections are often painful and many individuals suffer from frequent recurrent infections. Concern about transmission of the virus to sexual contacts creates anxiety in infected individuals. Spreading the infection to the fetus during labor and delivery can be life threatening for the newborn. Another major concern about genital herpes is that it increases the individual’s susceptibility to HIV infection by 3-fold, or for those individuals co-infected with HSV and HIV, the risk of transmitting HIV increases 3-fold. A vaccine is sorely needed to prevent HSV genital ulcer disease.

Zoster (shingles) is the clinical disease that occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox relapses. Zoster presents as a painful red rash with fluid filled vesicles that follows a dermatome distribution on the skin. The incidence of zoster increases with aging and is more common in immunocompromised individuals. The most frequent serious long-term complication from zoster is persistent, severe pain in the area of the rash. The persistent pain is referred to as post-herpetic neuralgia. A live virus vaccine is available for patients over age 50 in an effort to prevent zoster; however, the vaccine is not considered safe in immunocompromised individuals and is not highly immunogenic in subjects over age 70.