In the past two months, new therapies for the prevention and treatment of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-2) have showed some promising results.
In January, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed the results of an experimental drug, Pritelivir, and it's antiviral activity.
The relatively small study (156 HSV-2–positive persons), "Helicase–Primase Inhibitor Pritelivir for HSV-2 Infection" revealed that Pritelivir substantially reduced the rates of genital HSV shedding, which basically translates to decreased virus activity and possibility for transmission.
Although the study is considered preliminary, researchers say pritelivir works differently from existing drugs and it could eventually prove to be better at preventing transmission of the virus.
In fact, Dr. Richard Whitley, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham said, "We're at the beginning of a new era" in genital herpes treatment.
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Earlier this month, Australian company, Admedus announced its therapeutic vaccine for Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-2) has proven to be safe and able to generate a T-cell response in early results in Phase 1 clinical trials.
The dosing of study subjects was completed in December 2013 and further analysis of the data in still ongoing.
“This is an encouraging result for the core vaccine technology and provides us with the basis for not only progressing the Herpes therapeutic vaccine program, but also preparing the Human Papillomavirus vaccine for initial clinical studies as a therapeutic against HPV and Cervical Cancer,” chief executive officer Lee Rodne said.
Professor Ian Frazer, a former Australian of the Year and developer of the HPV vaccine, developed the experimental vaccine with his team at Coridon, a biotechnology company he founded in 2000.
Admedus, who is funding the vaccine development, announced the early results of the trial to the Australian Stock Exchange on Feb.3.
Coridon’s Herpes therapeutic vaccine seeks to stimulate the body’s immune system to produce T-cells – a type of antibody - targeting the virus. The trial was undertaken by Professor Frazer and his team in Brisbane on five cohorts with four participants in each cohort.
Each participant received three doses via intradermal injection during the study, which is focused primarily on safety.
All participants were screened to exclude previous exposure to Herpes simplex virus 1 (cold sores) or HSV-2 (genital herpes on the rationale that they would have no antibodies or T cells targeting the virus.
The results will also provide an early indicator of the vaccine’s ability to generate an effective immune response.
If the vaccine is able to stimulate the person's immune system such that it is being able to generate antibodies and T-cells against the herpes virus, without actually ever being infected, it would mean that it is safe and able to activate the immune system against the virus.
This would likely prevent future herpes infections and could also clear up the virus.
In Nov. 2103, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced the launch of phase 1 clinical trials into an investigational genital herpes vaccine called HSV529.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2).
According to CDC estimates, 776,000 people in the United States get new herpes infections annually.
Genital herpes infection is common in the United States. Nationwide, 16%, or about one out of six, people aged 14 to 49 years have genital HSV-2 infection. Over the past decade, the percentage of persons with genital herpes infection in the United States has remained stable.
People get herpes by having sex with someone who has the disease. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
There is no treatment that can cure herpes. Antiviral medications can, however, prevent or shorten outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. In addition, daily suppressive therapy (i.e., daily use of antiviral medication) for herpes can reduce the likelihood of transmission to partners.
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