New York Times (01.10.12) - Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Despite showing promise earlier, an experimental vaccine to
prevent herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2)
did not prevent HSV-2 in a double-blinded trial, a recent
study shows. The investigational vaccine previously was
thought to protect uninfected women who have HSV-infected
In the most recent study, researchers randomly assigned 8,323
uninfected women ages 18-30 to receive either the herpes
vaccine or a hepatitis A vaccine as a placebo. After 20
months, HSV-2 infection rates did not differ significantly
between the groups, though the herpes vaccine showed a modest
protective effect against HSV-1 genital infections. While most
genital herpes infections are caused by HSV-2, HSV-1 can also
cause genital herpes.
"The failure of the vaccine really suggests that we need to
look at new approaches to HSV vaccine development," said Dr.
Peter A. Leone, a study co-author and professor of medicine at
the University of North Carolina. An attenuated virus-based
vaccine may prove more effective.
The study, "Efficacy Results of a Trial of a Herpes Simplex
Vaccine," was published in the New England Journal of Medicine