It will still be a long time before these experiments lead to the first human trials of gene therapy to cure herpes. Jerome estimates that there are at least three years to go. Herpes symptoms usually begin 2 to 20 days after contact with the HSV virus. The skin becomes painful or may itch, burn, or tingle.
Then one or more blisters appear. The blisters break open and become sores. The sores become crusty and heal slowly over 1 to 2 weeks. Within 3 weeks, the sores have completely healed without scarring.
Sometimes, flu-like symptoms also occur, such as swollen glands, headache, body aches, and fever. For some, the symptoms may be so mild that the person has no sores and may not even know that they are infected. 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. Pharmaceutical companies are eager to discover a cure for herpes, but first they must overcome an extremely lengthy and expensive research process.
Until the herpes cure becomes a reality, you can continue to use current herpes treatments to control outbreaks. Fred Hutch scientists are studying human herpesviruses in the hope of finding better treatments, vaccines and cures. The first results suggest that there is hope for a vaccine, but as with the CRISPR cure for herpes, the final results are still years away.