The sequences of ~34 kb from the 3' end of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) Oka vaccine strain and the previously sequenced Dumas strain were compared. Sequence differences were noted in the coding sequences of several VZV open reading frames (ORFs), including ORFs 48, 51, 52, 55, 56, 58, 59, 60, 62, 64, and 68. Tests based on differences in the ORF62 gene and in the ORF64 poly-A region successfully distinguished the Oka vaccine strain from its wild-type parent and from other Japanese and US clinical isolates. These changes remained stable after passage of the virus in humans.
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