Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). In the United States, approximately 1 in 6 people ages 14 to 49 have genital herpes. While there is no cure for herpes, the severity of the virus varies over the lifespan of an infected person. In fact, some people with the condition don't have any symptoms for long periods of time. For those living with herpes, there are now many dating for people with herpes options available to help them find companionship and love.
Advances in herpes cure research over the past five years are largely due to a series of improvements in gene-editing tools. From the early days of the experiments, researchers have relied on a harmless, hollowed out virus that is attracted to proteins on the surface of nerve cells. Barry Stoddard, a colleague from Hutch who specializes in discovering the structure of proteins, has custom designed a set of meganucleases that they expect to work even better than the former. The researchers also refined their methods of transporting molecular scissors to specific nerve cells.
Hidden herpes viruses are disabled by an injection that tracks infected nerve cells and induces them to produce special enzymes that cut genes, which work like molecular scissors, to cut viral genes in specific locations. Herpes rash outbreaks usually affect the mouth or genitals, but they can appear anywhere on the body. Genital spread of the herpes simplex virus among symptomatic and asymptomatic people with HSV-2 infection is common. According to the World Health Organization, two-thirds of the world's population under 50 are carriers of HSV-1, while 491 million people between the ages of 15 and 49 are infected with HSV-2.HSV nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) tests are the most sensitive and highly specific tests available to diagnose herpes.
Some people who get genital herpes are concerned about how it will affect their general health, sex life, and relationships. Antiviral medications can prevent or shorten outbreaks during the period of time a person takes the medication. In addition, daily suppressive therapy (i.e., initial research showed that these techniques could eliminate small amounts of latent viruses), and the task of improving the results of the study fell on virologists. A new drug called pritelivir is currently undergoing clinical trials as a treatment for symptoms of herpes. Researchers have conducted several clinical trials to investigate vaccines against herpes infection, but there is currently no vaccine available on the market. Experts suggest that, even if antiviral drugs destroy the active parts of the infection, only a small amount of the virus is needed to hide in nerve cells and remain inactive so that the herpes virus continues to persist in the body. It will still be a long time before these experiments lead to human clinical trials to cure herpes.
Jerome estimates that there are at least three years to go. Women should be advised to abstain from sexual intercourse during the third trimester with partners known to have or are suspected of having genital herpes. While there is no cure for herpes yet, researchers are making progress towards finding one. With continued research and development, it may be possible one day to find a cure for this condition.