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Experimental herpes vaccine works in mice

Shot takes different tack from previous strategies

3:04pm, March 10, 2015

TAKING OVER  This electron microscope image of an infected cell shows production of herpes simplex virus particles (green/yellow). An experimental herpes vaccine stops herpes in its tracks in mice.

A test vaccine against genital herpes shows full protection against the live virus in mice, researchers report March 10 in eLIFE.

Previous herpes vaccine candidates contained a viral protein called gD-2, an obvious component since it is needed for herpes to invade cells and would therefore elicit an immune reaction. Such experimental vaccines succeeded in guinea pigs, but they failed in people. Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City wondered if having a gD-2 component in a vaccine might “mask” other viral particles and allow them to escape immune detection.

“A dominant protein like that is like a loud person in a room,” says study coauthor Betsy Herold, a pediatric infectious disease doctor. “Other people speaking can’t be heard.” Similarly, the human immune system might have been responding to gD-2 but not the full array of herpes

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