Cure for herpes - forget sores and antiviral medicine THIS could stop infection spreading

Herpes - known as genital herpes - is a common infection which can carry few or no symptoms. 

In fact, at least eight out of 10 people who carry the virus are unaware they have been infected because there are so few symptoms. 

The infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) - most commonly it causes painful blisters on the genitals and the surrounding areas. 

Can herpes be cured? The NHS writes: "Although there's no cure for genital herpes, the symptoms can usually be controlled using antiviral medicines."

But experts have said there could be a cure for the infection on the horizon. 

There are two types of herpes simplex virus (HSV), type 1 and type 2. Both types are highly contagious and can be passed easily from one person to another by direct contact. 

The cure experts are discussing is targeted at HSV-2 - a strain of the virus which causes causes genital herpes.

HSV-1 is mainly transmitted by oral-to-oral contact to cause oral herpes.

At the end of last year experts revealed they were in undertaking an early-phase trial involving the TheravaxHSV-2 drug. 

Results from the trial revealed ‘stunning reductions’ in herpes symptoms among trial participants.

The study, by biotechnology company Rational Vaccines, revealed 17 of 17 participants who received the three-shot vaccination series of the live TheravaxHSV-2 vaccine said it was more effective in reducing their genital herpes symptoms than other antiviral drugs.

On average, participants reported a 3.2 fold reduction in their number of herpes-symptomatic days per month relative to years of experience taking antiviral drugs.

Although still in the early months following the completion of the phase one trial, the company said the human data collected puts the Theravax HSV-2 vaccine as "one of the most effective therapeutic vaccines ever created for individuals suffering with both strains on the herpes virus".

William Halford, associate professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine has been performing laboratory research and publishing on the safety and efficacy of the TheravaxHSV-2 vaccine in pre-clinical studies for more than a decade.

"Doctors have been trying to manage genital herpes for 30 years with acyclovir-like antiviral drugs, and the approach has not stopped the spread of herpes,” he said.

"Over one million people per week continue to be newly infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2.

“It is time to offer herpes sufferers a 21st century solution with the potential to not only better treat herpes, but to simply stop the spread of the disease."

Is herpes a sexually transmitted infection? In short, yes. Herpes often referred to as a sexually transmitted infection (STI) as genital herpes can be passed to others through intimate sexual contact.

But it's symptoms aren't linked just to the genital area. The infection can affect any mucous membrane including those found in the mouth.

These present themselves as more commonly named 'cold sores'. 

It could be years before the 'cure' William Halford is testing comes to the market - so what treatment is on offer to people suffering today? 

If you suspect you have genital herpes it's imperative you see your GP for diagnosis. 

NHS.uk states the GP may prescribe antiviral tablets like aciclovir. The drug works by preventing HSV from multiplying. 

It does not clear the virus from your body completely and does not have any effect once you stop taking it and can cause some side effects, including being sick and headaches.



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