NEW YORK, November 4, 2005—Many of the world’s leading experts on the varicella-zoster virus (VZV)—which causes chickenpox (varicella), shingles (herpes zoster) and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)—will convene in New York on November 7 to discuss global VZV issues, including: the impact of the vaccine in disease reduction; the FDA’s recent approval of MMRV; the effectiveness of an experimental shingles vaccine in reducing the incidence of shingles; and the potential need for a varicella vaccine booster shot to enhance immunity.

The “Colloquium on the Varicella Vaccine: A Decade of Prevention & the Way Forward” is a continuing medical educational event jointly sponsored by the Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) and The New York Academy of Medicine. It will be held on Monday, November 7, between 8:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at The New York Academy of Medicine, located at 1216 Fifth Avenue, at 103rd Street, in New York City. The Sabin Vaccine Institute is a Washington, DC-based, non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives by stimulating the development and distribution of vaccines throughout the world.

The Colloquium faculty includes infectious disease experts from the United States—including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—in addition to leading scientists from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. Keynote presentations include a lecture on the development of the chickenpox varicella vaccine by its developer, Michiaki Takahashi, MD, DMSc, of the Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University in Japan.

Dalya Guris, MD, MPH, of the CDC, will discuss the impact of the varicella vaccine since its introduction in 1995. Michael N. Oxman, MD, chairman of the Shingles Prevention Study, will review the findings of a recently-completed study, which concluded that an experimental zoster vaccine significantly reduced the incidence of shingles and PHN.

“To our knowledge, this is the only major scientific meeting being held this year to mark and reflect on ten years of success in varicella prevention through vaccination in the United States,” said Dean D. Mason, President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. “However, our chief goal is to enhance and advance the dialogue, and spur greater research, on VZV vaccination at a pivotal time in VZV research and development.”

The “Colloquium on the Varicella Vaccine: A Decade of Prevention & the Way Forward” has been made possible in part by unrestricted educational grants from The Research Foundation For Microbial Diseases Of Osaka University, Osaka, Japan; GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Rixensart, Belgium; and the March of Dimes.

To learn more about the Sabin Vaccine Institute, visit the Sabin website or contact: Sabin Vaccine Institute, 1889 F Street, N.W., Suite 200S, Washington, DC 20006-4400; Phone, (202) 842-5025; [email protected].

# # #

Editor’s Note: The Colloquium is open to the press. For more information, please contact Dennis da
Costa ( [email protected] ; 914-645-7553; 914-773-1612) or Raymond MacDougall ( [email protected] ; 301-793-4949).