Background In immunocompromised patients, primary infection with VZV may have a disastrous clinical course. Vaccination of VZV-seronegative patients on the waiting list for renal transplantation may prevent severe disease. However, the immunologic response of end-stage renal disease patients to peptide vaccines is far from optimal. Our question was whether end-stage renal disease patients with undetectable VZV-IgG levels were able to mount an adequate humoral and cellular response to a live attenuated varicella vaccine. Methods Kidney transplant candidates with undetectable VZV levels were vaccinated twice with a live attenuated varicella vaccine at an interval of 6 weeks. VZV IgG levels were analysed till 2 years after vaccination. The VZV-specific T-cell reactivity was determined prior to vaccination and after transplantation. Results Seventy-seven percent (40/52) of the vaccinees reached positive VZV-IgG levels after vaccination (responders). Eighty-two percent (9/11) showed an increase in VZV-specific CD4+ memory T-cells (both central and effector memory cells). The percentage VZV-specific CD8+ memory T-cells did not increase. None of the non-responders suffered from primary VZV after transplantation. No severe vaccine-related adverse events were reported, only spontaneously resolving local skin irritation. Conclusion The live attenuated varicella vaccine evokes positive VZV IgG-levels and VZV-specific memory T-cells in VZV-seronegative potential kidney transplant candidates.

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Kho, M., Zuijderwijk, J., Eijck, A., de Kuiper, R., Boer-Verschragen, M.J. (Marieken J.), Weimar, W., & van Besouw, N. (2017). Humoral and cellular response after varicella vaccination in VZV IgG seronegative kidney transplant candidates. Vaccine, 35(1), 71–76. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.11.043