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New Herpes Vaccine May be Ready for Human Trials


New research suggests that a promising herpes vaccine may be ready for testing in humans say researchers from the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School. Their findings appear in the January 2005 issue of the Journal of Virology.

Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), or genital herpes, is a virus that infects approximately 22% of adult Americans. Bearing physical, psychological, and social effects on those who acquire it, it can pose an even more severe risk for immuno-compromised patients further emphasizing the need for an effective vaccine. "In the aggregate, the burden of genital herpes has made development of more effective prevention strategies a health priority," say the researchers.

The study compared three different vaccines, a DNA vaccine, an antigenic vaccine and a live mutant strain of the type 2 virus, d15-29, in mice and guinea pigs. The live mutant strain, d15-29, showed minimal risk of causing disease as it is missing two of the genes necessary for replication and it stimulated a stronger immune response in both animals. "Given its efficacy, its defectiveness for latency, and its ability to induce rapid, virus-specific CD8+T-cell responses, the dl5-29 vaccine may be a good candidate for early-phase human trials," say the researchers.

(Y. Hoshino, S.K. Dalai, K. Wang, L. Pesnicak, T.Y. Lau, D.M. Knipe, J.I. Cohen, S.E. Straus. 2004. Comparative efficacy and immunogenicity of replication-defective, recombinant glycoprotein, and DNA vaccines for herpes simplex virus 2 infections in mice and guinea pigs. Journal of Virology, 79. 1: 410-418.)

Jim Sliwa | EurekAlert!
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