Treatment may include antiviral medications such as acyclovir or valacyclovir. Keith Jerome and Martine Aubert, the Hutch virologists who are leading the research effort, report that the treatment dramatically reduced or even eliminated viral spread in treated mice compared to controls, an important milestone that scientists also hope to achieve if the experimental therapy is finally shown to be safe enough to be tested in humans. The experimental drug, a form of gene therapy, consists of an injection of millions of lab-modified viruses that have been hollowed out to carry inside them two different enzymes, small proteins that work like molecular scissors. The therapy employs three different species of these carrier viruses.
Known as adeno-associated viruses or AAV, they are routinely used in gene therapies to transport genes or gene-editing proteins to target sites. Previously, Jerome and Aubert reported that the drug can eliminate more than 90% of the latent herpesvirus in nerve groups near the face of mice injected with AAVs carrying enzymes. In this new study, they describe how they have tried therapy for the first time to treat infections in a group of nerves called dorsal root ganglia, near the genital tract of mice. They found that experimental therapy reduced the latent virus in that country by 97%.
Researchers are conducting additional preclinical studies on therapy in guinea pigs, which, unlike mice, naturally have recurrent outbreaks of latent herpes infections. As in the case of mice, the initial focus of this research is on HSV-1, which is mainly associated with cold sores. Anna Wald points out that recent studies, including one she published with colleagues from the University of Washington, point to a change. I've had herpes for as long as I can remember, and it's likely that I contracted the virus when I was a small child clutching my mother's face.
Over the decades, I've spent a considerable amount of time thinking about how to skip work, school, and social events. When I was hiding from the world, I tried all the available home remedies, topical creams and ointments, and antiviral medications. Unfortunately, there is no cure for herpes, only options to limit or prevent outbreaks. However, a new vaccine on the horizon could change the rules of the game.
Applying a baking soda paste can help dry the lesions and relieve itching. To do this, dip a damp cotton ball or swab in a small amount of pure baking soda and apply it to the sore. Many new herpes infections occur by couples who are transmitting the virus asymptomatically, so condoms are strongly recommended. Instead, I leaned toward being a weird kid and a social outcast, which allowed my face to fill up with herpes.
Eating certain foods and avoiding others can boost your immune system and, in turn, help your body respond to the herpes virus. Taking a small dose of anti-herpetic medicines every day can reduce the number of outbreaks by more than 90%. People who have recently been diagnosed with herpes should be tested for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections. Herpes medications may not work as well in patients who are very immunosuppressed and have been treated with these medications for a long time.
This is because the mice used in these studies do not naturally reactivate latent herpes infections, the source of the alarming and periodic outbreaks of painful sores that recur in humans. Genital herpes cannot be transmitted to another part of the body, such as the arm, leg, or hand, after the first infection. Recurrent genital herpes is most common in the first year after the initial infection and decreases as time goes on. Every time my immune system is exhausted, I am at greater risk of suffering an outbreak of herpes, and that is exactly what happened.
Although lesions may be caused by something other than herpes, false-negative herpes tests can occur if the samples are not taken properly, if there is a long time of transportation between the clinic and the laboratory, or if the cultures were taken at the end of the evolution of the lesions. He said that the work of Jerome and Aubert represents a paradigm shift in the field, because it is assumed that once a person is infected with a herpesvirus and there are eight members of that family, it is impossible to get rid of that particular strain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40 to 50 million adults in the United States have genital herpes. This is encouraging news from researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, where laboratory studies aimed at curing herpes simplex virus infections have continued despite interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.