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A Gene Therapy Cure For Herpes Is On The Horizon

Avatar of Salman Ahmad



Gene Therapy

(CTN News) – Experimental gene therapy has the potential to be the first line of defense against oral and genital herpes, according to researchers.

The gene therapy’s findings were published in Nature Communications on May 13. Lab mice infected with oral herpes were able to have their infections eradicated or at least significantly reduced in viral load.

The experimental treatment involves injecting chemicals that alter genes in order to find the herpes virus that is buried within the body, according to researchers.

Herpes is a very crafty virus. Dr. Keith Jerome, a professor in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at Seattle’s Fred Hutch Cancer Center, detailed the organism’s strategy for evading detection and reactivating to produce painful blisters on the skin. The gene-editing cocktail reportedly includes laboratory-modified delivery viruses that contain an enzyme that acts as “molecular scissors.”

In order to release the enzyme, the delivery virus must first reach a cluster of nerves where herpes is hiding.

Enzymes damage or kill the herpes virus’s Gene Therapy.

The principal investigator and chief staff scientist at Fred Hutch, Martine Albert, described how the enzyme “cuts in two different places in the herpes virus’s DNA.” The virus is unable to recover from these wounds due to the severity of the damage they have caused. Once the damaged DNA is recognized as foreign, the body’s natural healing processes eradicate it.

Oral herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1, which is estimated to affect 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 according to the World Health Organization.

Herpes simplex 2 causes genital herpes and affects 491 million people between the ages of 15 and 49.

Researchers found that this investigational drug eliminated 90% of herpes simplex 1 infections in the face and 97% of infections in the vagina in herpes simplex 1 infected mice.

After approximately one month of treatment, the treated animals showed these reductions, and the virus appeared to be lowered even more significantly with time.

In an interview with the cancer center’s news release, Jerome said, “If you talk to people living with herpes, many are worried about whether their infection will transmit to others.” “Our recent research demonstrates that we can lower the quantity of virus secreted from the body as well as its internal content.”

A more effective method of treating herpes is provided by this novel treatment.

Three different delivery viruses, each equipped with two different enzymes, were used to attack herpes in a trial that took place in 2020. This study utilized a single delivery virus and a single enzyme capable of cleaving the viral DNA at two specific sites.

Jerome asserts that “our streamlined gene-editing approach has less side effects on the liver and nerves and is effective at eliminating the herpes virus.” “This implies that Gene Therapy will have fewer ingredients, making it safer for patients to use and easier to prepare.”

Researchers are currently working to convert the findings into drugs that may be tested in human clinical trials.

Jerome assured us, “We’re working with a lot of partners to make sure we align with federal regulators to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the gene therapy.” This assurance comes as we embark on the clinical trials.

In addition, the team is tweaking their Gene Therapy-editing strategy to zero in on the herpes simplex 2 virus.


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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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