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Medicineworld.org: First Herpes Vaccine Under Study

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First Herpes Vaccine Under Study

First Herpes Vaccine Under Study
The first vaccine for genital herpes, a contagious infection affecting nearly one in five Americans, is under study in women.

The Medical College of Georgia is among study sites in 28 states studying the vaccine in approximately 7,500 women age 18 to 30 who have not been exposed to herpes simplex type 2, the cause of the genital infection, or herpes simplex type 1, which causes common fever blisters.

"It's very debilitating, not only physically, but emotionally," says Dr. Daron G. Ferris, family medicine physician, director of the MCG Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Center and a principal investigator. "We hope this vaccine can help women avoid this lifelong infection".

Prior research, published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed the vaccine works best in women who had not been exposed to either herpes strain and that it was not effective in men.

Antiviral agents on the market suppress outbreaks of the virus but don't stop disease transmission, Dr. Ferris says. "There is no cure for herpes. People do shed herpes asymptomatically so, even if they do not have an outbreak, they can share herpes, for example, in vaginal secretions or urine".

While the infection can be a lifelong, life-changing problem for adults, it can be deadly for babies, he says. Babies are delivered by Caesarean section if the mother is known to have an active type 2 herpes infection.

The durable virus hibernates in the dorsal ganglion, an area of nerves in the back. Stress and sunlight are two triggers that send the virus down the nerve pathways to cause an eruption.

Typically the first outbreak is the worst, starting with a burning, tingling, itching sensation followed by vesicles or blisters erupting on both sides of the genital region then rupturing and forming tender, painful ulcerations that can last up to 10 days. Typically, recurrences are not as bad, occurring on one side of the body and lasting about a week. Outbreak frequency varies widely among individuals. "I have patients who have an outbreak now just once a year or every other year but, unfortunately, they remain contagious," Dr. Ferris says.

The vaccine blocks the infection by using a fragment of the herpes virus protein that prompts the body to mount an immune response to herpes type 2 so it will eliminate the virus on sight. It will be given in a series of three shots to approximately half the study participants. The other half get hepatitis A vaccine, which works in a similar fashion and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent infection with this hepatitis type that is common in locations including Central and South America, Mexico and much of Asia. The hepatitis A vaccine also is considered investigational for the purposes of this study because it is being given in three rather than the usual two doses.

Participants will be followed for about 20 months.

The Herpevac Trial for Women is a joint initiative of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals.

For more information about the study, call Dr. Ferris' office at 706-721-2535.



Posted by: Mark    Source




Did you know?
The first vaccine for genital herpes, a contagious infection affecting nearly one in five Americans, is under study in women. The Medical College of Georgia is among study sites in 28 states studying the vaccine in approximately 7,500 women age 18 to 30 who have not been exposed to herpes simplex type 2, the cause of the genital infection, or herpes simplex type 1, which causes common fever blisters.

Medicineworld.org: First Herpes Vaccine Under Study

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