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A new vaccine created to fight the herpes simplex virus has shown positive results in a round of animal studies conducted on guinea pigs.
Vical, the manufacturer of the plasmid DNA vaccine, named Vaxfectin, presented the results of the trial in Seattle, Washington, at the Vaccine and International Society for Vaccines Annual Global Congress. The results showed that the vaccine protected the guinea pigs from both primary and recurrent variations of the herpes simplex virus. It was also shown to reduce both viral shedding and the recurrence of genital lesions to a significant degree, as well as reducing latent infection in the central nervous system.
The success of the guinea pig study paves the way for future human trials, which Vical expects to occur in the near future. As there is currently no vaccine in existence for the herpes simplex virus (HSV-2), the results of a human trial would be of great interest across the world. A successful result would have a significant impact, as it is currently only possible to treat individual outbreaks of genital herpes and no cure currently exists.
The Executive Vice President of Product Development at Vical, Alain Rolland, said the results of the study are “an excellent confirmation of our earlier studies in mice.” He added: “The concurrent reductions of viral shedding and latent infection demonstrate the potential for meaningful benefit in both prophylactic and therapeutic settings. We are eager to complete our grant-funded preclinical development in this exciting program and evaluate the best path forward into human clinical testing.”