Allied Healthcare issues update on Phase I herpes vaccine trial

Allied Healthcare Group, a Brisbane, Australia-based healthcare company, announced on Tuesday that the first two of five cohorts were successfully dosed with no safety issues raised in a herpes virus vaccine study.

The vaccine targets herpes simplex virus II, the strain of the virus most frequently associated with genital herpes. The DNA vaccine is meant to prevent transmission of herpes and treat individuals who were already exposed.

"The study is progressing well, with the first participants being dosed and no safety issues reported," Lee Rodne, the CEO of Allied Healthcare Group, said. "Currently there is no curative treatment for herpes and there is a major unmet medical need, meaning our herpes therapeutic vaccine has huge market potential."

Q-Pharm Pty., Ltd., is running the trial at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, which explores five doses of the vaccine targeting herpes virus. The results of the Phase I trial will determine the safety of the vaccine, how well tolerated it is and whether or not it generates a robust immune response.

"It is quite exciting to initiate the study at Q-Pharm in Brisbane," Ian Frazer, the developer of the vaccine, said. "This study will provide important information as to the effective dose and to demonstrate that our vaccine approach works."

There is no cure for herpes, a life-long infection. Current HSV-2 therapy uses antiviral drugs to reduce, but not eliminate, outbreaks and viral shedding.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 16 percent of all people between the ages of 15 and 49 are infected with HSV-2.