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Decreased cell-mediated immune (CMI) response to varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is correlated with an increased risk of reactivation of latent virus from dorsal root sites, leading to herpes zoster. The cell-mediated and humoral immunogenieity of three concentrations (3200, 8500, and 41,650 pfu/dose) of a live attenuated VZV vaccine (Oka strain; VZV/Oka) was compared with a control pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine in 200 healthy adults who were ≥55 years old. Six weeks after vaccination, the VZV-specific CMI response (as measured by stimulation index values and precursor cell frequencies) was enhanced in all VZV/Oka vaccine groups compared with the control group (for all VZV/Oka groups combined vs. controls, tested with VZV crude antigen: stimulation index, P < .001; precursor cell frequency, P < .001). Geometric mean titers of anti-VZV antibodies increased in all VZV/Oka vaccine groups but remained unchanged in the control vaccine group. No dose effect of VZV/Oka vaccine was observed for CMI or humoral responses.


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