THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Novel vaccine may prevent herpes

Novel vaccine design effectively may prevent herpes viruses | Courtesy of web.uct
A team of researchers at Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) of Albert Einstein College of Medicine have developed a mutant gene that lacks a herpes protein, creating a vaccine that may prevent herpes viruses.

Studies show that the new vaccine made with the mutant gene effectively prevents against HSV-1, the herpes responsible for cold sores, and HSV-2, the herpes that causes genital ulcers.

Both of these two strains are known to remain dormant for years before subjects report symptoms. The two strains infect nerve cells within the virus.

For approximately 30 years, researchers in the field of immunology have been attempting to create a vaccine for herpes based on a single protein from the virus’s outer surface. This protein is known to provoke an immune response from the body. This new discovery may change the design of potential herpes vaccines forever.

There is currently no vaccine for herpes, and the virus continues to be a worldwide health concern.

"We have a very promising new candidate for herpes," William Jacobs, an HHMI investigator at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said. "But this might also be a good candidate as a vaccine vector for other mucosal diseases, particularly HIV and tuberculosis."

"With herpes sores you continually get them," Jacobs said. "If our vaccine works in humans as it does in mice, administering it early in life could completely eliminate herpes latency."

Organizations in this story

Howard Hughes Medical Institute 4000 Jones Bridge Rd Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Albert Einstein College of Medicine 1300 Morris Park Ave Bronx, NY 10461

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