Shingles rash; Credit: Getty Images
Shingles rash; Credit: Getty Images

The mRNA technology behind two successful COVID-19 vaccines may also support the development of an improved shingles vaccine, drugmakers claim.

Pfizer, which used the technology to create the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty with German biotechnology company BioNTech, is betting that the partnership will work again in a new venture. The two companies will speed development of a prospective shingles preventive drug, with clinical trials expected to begin in the second half of 2022, Pfizer announced Wednesday. 

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a common, painful and potentially debilitating disease that mainly affects older adults. It strikes when the dormant chickenpox virus, which most American adults carry, is activated again. This typically happens as the immune system weakens in later life.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that most adults aged 50 years and older be routinely vaccinated with a preferred drug, Shingrex, made by GlaxoSmithKline.

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