CDC updates recommendations for use of VariZIG
In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved VariZIG for use in the U.S. for post-exposure prophylaxis of varicella for individuals at high risk for severe disease who lack evidence of varicella immunity and for whom varicella vaccine is contraindicated. The CDC updated the recommendations now that VariZIG is approved for administration as soon as possible and within 10 days following exposure to the varicella-zoster virus.
The CDC also revised the patient groups recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to receive VariZIG to include premature infants for exposures that occur during the entire period for which they require hospital care. The new recommendations bring the CDC's VariZIG guidelines into harmonization with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Studies in the 1960s found that clinical varicella was prevented in healthy, susceptible children by administering a zoster immune globulin within 72 hours of household exposure. The first commercial varicella zoster immune globulin preparation, VZIG, became available in 1978. VZIG was discontinued in February 2006 and a new product, VariZIG became available under an investigational new drug protocol within 96 hours of exposure.
VariZIG is a purified immune globulin preparation made from human plasma that contains high levels of anti-varicella-zoster virus antibodies. VariZIG is the only varicella zoster immune globulin preparation available in the U.S.