There is no cure for herpes. Antiviral medications, such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir, may help reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms, but they cannot cure the infection. Many new herpes infections occur by couples who transmit the virus asymptomatically, so condoms are strongly recommended. Herpes rash outbreaks usually affect the mouth or genitals, but they can appear anywhere on the body.
However, if they experience any symptoms related to herpes, they should ask all their recent sexual partners if they have or may have oral or genital herpes. The herpes virus causes cold sores and genital herpes, as well as fatal infections in newborns, encephalitis, and corneal blindness. Five years ago, the team reported that they had damaged the genes of 2% to 4% of the herpes virus in infected mice. Some home remedies, such as petroleum gel or essential oils, may ease the discomfort caused by herpes lesions, but they won't help reduce viral load.
Latent herpes viruses hide in groups of nerve cells called ganglia, and researchers have found that some nodes are harder to reach than others. Medications have come a long way in helping to suppress herpes and it is possible that it can be cured in the future. Schang and his group at the Baker Institute for Animal Health have identified a new mechanism that plays a role in controlling the way in which the herpes virus alternates between latent and active stages of infection. While there is no cure for herpes, the severity of the virus varies over the lifespan of an infected person.
For example, if someone has never had herpes but then has oral and genital sex with an infected partner, they can get the infection on both sites. Taking a small dose of anti-herpetic medicines every day can reduce the number of outbreaks by more than 90%. However, in the new study, the group demonstrated that chromatin dynamics regulate whether the entire herpes virus genome is activated, which must occur before any individual gene can be expressed. Researchers have conducted several clinical trials to investigate vaccines against herpes infection, but there is currently no vaccine available on the market.
If a person contracts any form of herpes virus infection, they will have it for life, whether they have symptoms or not. 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.