A new study provides evidence that a herpes vaccine developed by a Harvard Medical School researcher is a strong candidate for testing in humans. The study, published online Dec. 14 in the Journal of Virology, compared three different experimental vaccines for herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), the virus that causes most cases of genital herpes.
HSV-2 infects one in five Americans, and its prevalence has reached 50 percent in some developing countries, where it also seems to be helping to fuel the spread of HIV. HSV-2 infection, though incurable, typically does not cause major health problems, but can be life-threatening in immunocompromised people and newborn babies infected by their mothers.
Lead author Stephen E. Straus, MD, senior investigator in the Medical Virology Section in the Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, tested the vaccines in two established animal models of herpes infection. The HMS vaccine, developed by David Knipe, HMS professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, called dl5-29, outperformed the other two vaccines, one of which has already been tested in humans.
John Lacey | EurekAlert!
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