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Research shows progress toward a genital herpes vaccine
Date:1/4/2012

ST. LOUIS -- An investigational vaccine protected some women against infection from one of the two types of herpes simplex viruses that cause genital herpes, according to findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The vaccine was partially effective at preventing herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), but did not protect women from herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). There were less than half of the cases of genital herpes caused by HSV-1 58 percent fewer -- in women who received the investigational vaccine compared to women who received the control vaccine.

"There is some very good news in our findings. We were partially successful against half of the equation protecting women from genital disease caused by HSV-1," said Robert Belshe, M.D., director of the Saint Louis University Center for Vaccine Development and lead author of the study.

"It's a big step along the path to creating an effective vaccine that protects against genital disease caused by herpes infection. It points us in the direction to work toward making a vaccine that works on both herpes simplex viruses."

Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are members of the herpesvirus family. Typically, HSV-2 causes lesions and blisters in the genital area. HSV-1 generally causes sores in the mouth and lips, although it increasingly has been found to cause genital disease.

There currently is no cure or approved vaccine to prevent genital herpes infection, which affects about 25 percent of women in the United States and is one of the most common communicable diseases. Once inside the body, HSV remains there permanently. The virus can cause severe neurological disease and even death in infants born to women who are infected with HSV and the virus is a risk factor for sexual transmission of HIV.

The clinical trial of an investigational genital herpes vaccine was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is
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Contact: Nancy Solomon
solomonn@slu.edu
314-977-8017
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert

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