A compound in licorice homes in on lab-grown cells infected with a herpes virus and induces them to self-destruct, a new study finds. These results suggest that a drug based on the compound could seek and destroy herpes viruses hiding in people's bodies. Current antiherpes drugs attack the virus only when it's causing symptoms.
The virus in the new study is Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), which causes skin and lymph cancers. The researchers suspect that the gene responsible for KSHV's capacity to hide out is latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA).