Herpes vaccine fails in clinical trials

Hopes for the widespread use of a new vaccine against the sexually transmitted herpes simplex were dashed recently when the vaccine failed in clinical trials.

For reasons that remain unclear, the experimental vaccine was capable of protecting subjects against only one of the two types of the virus, herpes simplex type 1, according to

A study on the effects of the vaccine in 8,000 women aged 18 to 30, recently reported in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, found that it was ineffective against herpes simplex virus type 2.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in six Americans between the ages of 14 and 49 are infected with HSV2. Federal health figures report that almost 60 percent of American adults are infected with HSV1, according to

“I think this is the end of the vaccine,” coauthor Dr. Peter A. Leone, an infectious disease specialist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said, MSNBC reports. “It would be difficult to imagine marketing a vaccine that would only work against HSV1.

Dr. Robert Belshe, the lead author of the study, was more optimistic about the results.

“There is some very good news in our findings,” Leone said, reports. “We were partially successful against half of the equation – protecting women from genital disease caused by HSV-1. 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.”