Is there anything new and/or promising on the horizon that gives

  • In a word: Yes!
    There are many areas of research of herpes that promise to one day improve the quality of life for those affected, better treat the disease, prevent it and potentially cure it. A couple of areas may impact herpes treatment and prevention within the next decade:

    Topical microbicides:
    These are topical drugs containing compounds that can kill the herpes virus are in various stages of development and testing. These include gels, creams, or lotions that a woman could insert into the vagina prior to intercourse to prevent infection. One microbicide, BufferGel, has been well studied. Studies show it's able to kill herpes, as well as some other sexually transmitted viruses.

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    This is the holy grail of genital herpes research. Vaccines are in development that can prevent the transmission of the disease, others are vaccines that may treat herpes. Several are in development and a few are in clinical trials. So far, the results of clinical trials with these vaccines have been mixed. For example, a few years ago, researchers reported that an experimental herpes vaccine protected women who had never been infected with a herpes virus from getting the disease. But the vaccine didn't protect all women who were already infected with and it didn’t work in men.

    Some European trials of herpes vaccines have had somewhat better results in reducing the frequency of disease recurrence frequency, but the vaccines did NOT eradicate the disease or eliminate recurrences altogether. Newer DNA based vaccines are in early studies and theoretically, should do a better job of preventing recurrences and transmission, but we are years away from having any answers.

    Topical microbicides, preparations containing microbe-killing compounds, are also in various stages of development and testing.

    Important: We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.

Published On: May 11, 2008