Antigenics reports positive results for herpes vaccine

Antigenics, a Massachusetts-based biotech firm, recently reported positive results for a human trial of a potential herpes vaccine.

The potential vaccine would not be capable of curing herpes, but it could successfully treat it and, if effective, would decrease the chances of its transmission, according to Boston Business Journal on July 27.

While this particular vaccine’s development has been aimed at herpes simplex virus-2, Antigenics believes its platform may be workable for many other types of infectious diseases, including HIV, hepatitis, malaria and tuberculosis.

According to Antigenics officials, the potential treatment is a proprietary vaccine platform that focuses on heat-shock proteins that are found in all cells. These proteins help play a role in the immune system’s recognition of diseased cells.

The Phase 1 study used 35 patients that tested positive for HSV-2, a disease that affects approximately 60 million Americans. Further trials are expected.

HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted disease characterized by symptoms that range from numbness in the legs to painful genital ulcers. Many of those infected with HSV-2 will show no symptoms whatsoever. Outbreaks may take three to four weeks to heal and often, less severe outbreaks will occur over time. The infection can stay in the body indefinitely, according to the Centers for Disease Control.