Date: 12 Mar 2010

Varicella-Zoster Virus Vaccine: Molecular Genetics

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The genetic differences that potentially account for the attenuation of the Oka vaccine VZV preparation are more clearly defined than for perhaps any other vaccine in current use. This is due in large part to the small number of differences between the vaccine and the parental strain from which it was derived, and to the high level of genomic conservation that characterizes VZV. This information has been used with great success to develop methods that discriminate vaccine from wild-type strains, to begin determining which specific vaccine markers contribute to the attenuated phenotype, to improve evaluations of vaccine efficacy and safety, and to observe the behavior of the live, attenuated preparation as it becomes more prevalent through widespread immunization.

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the funding agency.