June 13, 2024
Herpes Virus

Gene Editing Offers Promising Progress Towards a Cure for Herpes: New Study Reveals 90% Virus Elimination in Laboratory Tests

Researchers at Fred Hutch Cancer Center have reported significant advancements in the development of a gene therapy for genital and oral herpes. According to recent pre-clinical studies, the experimental therapy successfully eliminated 90% or more of the herpes infection and suppressed the amount of virus released from an infected individual. This finding suggests that the therapy could potentially reduce the transmission of the virus.

Herpes, a highly contagious virus, is known for its ability to hide within nerve cells and reactivate, causing painful skin blisters. Dr. Keith Jerome, a professor in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at Fred Hutch, explained, Herpes Simplex Virus is a sneaky virus. It hides among nerve cells and then reawakens, causing painful outbreaks and the potential for transmission to others. Our goal is to provide a cure for this infection, allowing individuals to live without the constant worry of outbreaks or spreading it to others.”

The team’s research, published in Nature Communications on May 13, represents an encouraging step towards a gene therapy for herpes. The experimental therapy involves administering a mixture of gene editing molecules into the bloodstream. This mixture includes laboratory-modified viruses, known as vectors, commonly used in gene therapies, and enzymes that act as molecular scissors. Once the vector reaches the clusters of nerves where the herpes virus resides, the molecular scissors target and damage or eliminate the herpes virus’s genes.

This innovative approach offers hope for a potential cure for herpes, a virus that affects millions worldwide. Further research and clinical trials are necessary to determine the safety and efficacy of this gene therapy in humans.

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1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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