The Herpes Simplex Virus is a serious infection that can cause many issues such as swollen glands under the jaw, a fever, loss of appetite and sores or blisters. Some individuals may have episodes of nausea, as well. Up until now, vaccines have only covered a portion of what the virus does. After many years of research, scientists have discovered a vaccine that may help with the virus and allow people to live a more normal life.
About the virus
There are two types of the virus. Herpes Simplex Virus 1 is the virus that causes cold sores on your mouth and is not considered to be an STD, or sexually transmitted disease. Herpes Simplex Virus 2 is an STD and causes sores or blisters in the genital area. Anal Herpes is a form of HSV-2 and causes sores or blisters around the anal opening.
It can be deadly to babies born to infected moms. Approximately 500 million people are infected worldwide, and an estimated one in six people age 15 to 49 in the United States become infected. People who become infected with the Herpes Virus are also more susceptible to contracting HIV.
A person can appear to be fine because Herpes Simplex Virus can be dormant for a long time after infecting the cells. The immune system doesn’t know it’t there and doesn’t fight it. More women generally become infected than men because it is easier to be transferred to women.
The Genital Herpes Vaccine
The new genital herpes vaccine targets three different parts of the virus. If effective, it will stop the virus’ ability to enter the body. If it does, the immune system will be able to fight it. Scientists determined that for a vaccine to be effective, it needs to prevent the virus from infecting the body and prevent it’s ability to evade detection by the immune system.
Guinea pigs and monkeys were tested using the new genital herpes vaccine for the Herpes Simplex Virus. It proved 98 percent effective in protecting the guinea pigs against Genital Herpes. Monkeys bodies increased levels of their antibodies that targeted the virus to destroy it.
During testing on the animals, the vaccine caused the body’s immune system to release three antibodies to hit different areas of the virus. Two of those prevented it from blocking the immune system from working properly, and the third one prevented the virus from entering cells. Past vaccines only prevented the virus from breaking into the body.
The Herpes Simplex Virus is most prevalent among people in Africa. The United States runs second in line behind Africa. Saliva, body secretions or oral sex are the three ways the virus can be spread from one individual to another. HSV-1 is not sexually transmitted, but HSV-2 is.
Scientists are working steadily and testing the new vaccine. If effective, this vaccine will change the lives of many. With one in six people infected, a virus of this magnitude can be difficult to avoid. The vaccine has been proven effective in animals, and the next step will be to test it on humans and clear it with the FDA, or Food and Drug Administration.
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