GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has started Phase III clinical trials for a vaccine to prevent shingles.

The trials will include more than 30,000 patients worldwide and will assess the immunogenicity, efficacy and safety of the vaccine.

Norman Begg, chief medical officer of GSK Biologicals, commented that there are limited treatment and prevention options for shingles.

“That is why progression into late-stage development of our herpes zoster vaccine is an important milestone in ongoing efforts to potentially help address an important unmet need,” he said.

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and affects around one million people in the US every year.