Date added: 18 Mar 2014
2013 - Best Biotechnology Product: Zostavax® - Merck
Development of Zostavax® represented a totally new paradigm for vaccination; the goal was to prevent clinical disease caused by reactivation of latent infection, rather than to prevent primary infection. At the time of the development work, there was considerable uncertainty regarding whether such a goal was feasible in light of the immunosenescence that arises in older adults, since shingles is believed to be caused by waning immunity and the inability of the immune system to respond suitably to control varicella-zoster virus (VZV) reactivation. Development of vaccines against herpes viruses—the family of viruses to which VZV belongs—continues even today to be extremely challenging.