Varicella zoster virus (VZV) belongs to the family of the herpesvirus, it is extremely contagious and produces two different clinical forms. On the one hand, chickenpox itself, which is characterized by a generalized skin rash, and on the other, herpes zoster, which is a localized skin condition.
It is transmitted between humans through droplets from the respiratory system, by direct contact with the skin rash or through fluid from the skin lesions of an infected person.
When was the first vaccine developed?
The most effective prevention method against the disease is vaccination. Actually, the vaccine used to attack this virus “is a lyophilized preparation of live attenuated viruses, derived from the Oka strain of varicella-zoster virus and obtained by propagation in human diploid cells MRC5 “, details the Ministry of Health.
But who discovered this strain? The Japanese virologist Michiaki Takahashi managed to develop the Oka strain of the virus in Japan in 1974, being the only one approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) to produce the vaccine and administer it to the population. All currently marketed vaccines against chicken pox are based on this Oka strain.
Dr. Takahashi developed this vaccine using live viruses that were attenuated through culture in human and animal cells. Thus, it was initially registered exclusively for immunosuppressed individuals and was subsequently licensed for general use in Japan and South Korea.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the first vaccine against this disease in the United States in 1995. In the case of Spain, it began to be administered in 1998, although only for the hospital setting and for people at risk.