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Herpes Vaccine in the Offing

Promising Herpes Vaccine in Development

A recent article revealed that researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine has developed a new vaccine type which shows great potentials of becoming the first to ever prevent genital herpes. The researchers that developed this vaccine decided to take a counter approach which seems to have worked.  Up until now, the assumption has been that an effective HSV-2 vaccine is one that stimulates the body to make neutralizing antibodies through the use of the viral surface protein glycoprotein D (gD-2) as the antigen to stimulate these antibodies. However, these vaccines have not been effective suggesting that the wrong antibodies are being stimulated. 

This new vaccine focuses on deleting the gene for the gD-2 protein from the virus as the virus uses this protein to infect human cells resulting in the disease. By removing the gene from the virus, it is rendered unable to infect the cells and cause the disease. This altered virus which was given the name delta-gD-2 and is assumed to stimulate the body to produce different antibodies – ones that are more effective. Trials have been conducted on mice and have been successful. Human trials are expected to begin in a few years. You can get more information here. on this new article and why researchers believe that they have finally cracked the code.

Background Information on Herpes

So, why are researchers putting so much time and effort into finding a vaccine that prevents herpes? Well, let’s take a look at some herpes background information. It is a very common sexually transmitted disease. Approximately five million people have contracted this disease worldwide. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and people with this virus are more likely to acquire the HIV virus and to transmit it further. This is one of the main reasons why the need to develop a safe and effective herpes vaccine is so great. 

Genital herpes is a chronic condition. This means that it is long-term. It remains in your body and can become active again causing outbreaks after outbreaks. In the beginning stage (the first two years after becoming infected), the outbreaks are more frequent – four to five times in those first two years of becoming infected; however, over time, they become less frequent and less severe. The main symptom of genital herpes is painful blisters on the genitals and the areas that surround it. 

As Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease, the virus is usually transmitted from one person to the next through vaginal, anal and oral sex. The infected person does not always show symptoms which makes it easier for them to transmit the virus. In fact, almost eight out of every ten people who are infected with the HSV virus are not aware that they have been infected because initially, there are little to no symptoms. There are however certain triggers that can activate the virus resulting in an outbreak but by then, the virus might have already been transmitted to someone else.

Genital Herpes Treatment Options

As mentioned earlier, genital herpes is a chronic condition which means that the treatment options are very limited. There is no actual cure as yet which is why so much time and effort is placed in this new vaccine, hoping that it will finally be the one to prevent the condition. Although there is no actual cure for genital herpes, the blisters caused by it can be controlled through the use of antiviral medicines. 

Preventing the Spread of Genital Herpes

To prevent the spread of genital herpes, it is important for people who are sexually active to get tested to know if they have been infected. As mentioned, there are little to no initial symptoms which means that someone can be infected and not know.  However, if they get tested, they would know that they are infected and can restrain from having unsafe sexual intercourse. 

The Private Doctor Direct can test for Herpes Simplex I and Herpes Simplex II. It uses a urine sample or a PCR lesion swab to test for the presence of the infection. If the virus is active, the test will give a positive result. In such cases, you might start seeing small blisters around your genital area and will require anti-viral treatment. Since this test will only read positive if the virus is active, it is recommended that you get a blood test if you believe that you have been infected but are displaying no symptoms. This way you will be able to know if you have the virus in your system and can take precautions from transmitting it further. 

 


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