Purpose of the Herpes Vaccine Blog

WHO AM I?

My name is Bill Halford and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois.  I have studied herpes simplex virus (HSV) biology since 1991, and I became interested in trying to develop a safe and effective HSV-2 vaccine in 2006.  There are at least 100 individuals in the world who are actively pursuing a HSV-2 vaccine, and I am one of these many researchers.  In this blog, I will try to cut through the nomenclature and statistics and explain in relatively straightforward terms what we know about HSV-2 vaccines and what we need to do next to advance a safe and effective HSV-2 vaccine to human clinical trials.  If you wish to contact me, you can do so via this blog or e-mail me at “[email protected]

 

DISCLAIMER

The author of this website, Bill Halford, is an employee of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois.  The viewpoints expressed on this website are solely that of the author, and should not be construed as an official statement of the policies, procedures, or opinions of Southern Illinois University, the School of Medicine, or any of the academic departments contained therein.

 

BACKGROUND ON HSV-2 INFECTIONS AND GENITAL HERPES

Genital herpes caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) remains a huge medical and public health problem.  About 1 billion people (out of ~7 billion total) are life-long carriers of the HSV-2 virus.  About 40 million of those HSV-2 infected persons live with genital herpes outbreaks that recur once every 2 to 12 months over the duration of their lives.  Each outbreak can last from 2 to 20 days in duration, and is physically uncomfortable and emotionally distressing.  Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir or valacyclovir (valtrex) reduce, but do not prevent. the symptoms of recurrent genital herpes.  Likewise, antiviral drugs have not slowed the spread of HSV-2 infection at all; ~20 million per year continue to acquire new HSV-2 infections from the 1 billion people who already carry the HSV-2 virus.

HSV-2 genital herpes has been described as a silent epidemic.  This term is apt, as HSV-2 exists all around us and is carried by friends and family members, but people are reluctant to disclose that they are infected with HSV-2 as there remains a historical stigma associated with this infection.  Many people who have the HSV-2 virus have not had many sexual partners, and many teenagers who acquire HSV-2 have the misfortune of acquiring HSV-2 with their first sexual partner.  Nonetheless, the social stigma that people with HSV-2 wish to avoid is the perception that they have slept with dozens of people.  For this and a variety of other reasons, the ~200 million people who have experienced symptoms of HSV-2 genital herpes do not tend to share this information with many people.  Thus, it is hard to estimate the magnitude of the problems caused by HSV-2 genital herpes.  One number helps put the problem into perspective; each of our children has a 1-in-10 chance of contracting a HSV-2 infection before they are married.

Aside from the individual suffering caused by recurrent genital herpes, HSV-2 infections can cause more severe complications such as HSV-2 infections of newborns as they pass through the vagina / birth canal.  The immune system of neonates is not yet developed, and thus HSV-2 infections in newborn babies can be devastating often resulting in death or severe mental / cognitive impairment, as HSV-2 infection can spread to the central nervous system of newborns.

 

THE POTENTIAL UTILITY OF A HSV-2 VACCINE

Effective vaccines have been responsible for the eradication and/or control of many viral diseases such as smallpox, yellow fever, red measles, mumps, German Measles, hepatitis B, chickenpox, and poliomyelitis.  In principle, there is no reason that a safe and effective HSV-2 vaccine could not be deployed in the human population to prevent HSV-2 genital herpes.

The applications of a safe and effective genital herpes vaccine would be two-fold.

First, an effective HSV-2 vaccine could be given to adolescents or prospective sexual partners of those who already carry the HSV-2 virus.  Exposure to an effective HSV-2 vaccine would bolster the immune system of such individuals such that their bodies were at least 100 times better prepared to repel the real (wild-type) HSV-2 pathogen if they were exposed later in life.  Such a “preventative HSV-2 vaccine” could be used to prevent ~20 million per year from newly acquiring the HSV-2 virus.

Second, an effective HSV-2 vaccine could be given to those who suffer from frequent outbreaks of recurrent genital herpes.  Such a “therapeutic HSV-2 vaccine” could be used to reduce the frequency and duration of genital herpes outbreaks in those ~40 million people worldwide who suffer from this chronic viral disease.  This latter application of a HSV-2 vaccine (i.e., to reduce symptoms in those who already carry the HSV-2 virus) would be more experimental, and less of a sure thing than a preventative HSV-2 vaccine.  Nonetheless, there are several publications dating back to the 1950s that claim such an effect has been obtained by treatment with a variety of vaccine formulations including inactivated-preparations of HSV virion particles.  Therefore, once a safe and effective HSV-2 preventative vaccine is identified, it will be relevant to determine if it has potential  to also serve as a therapeutic HSV-2 vaccine.

 

WHY DO WE STILL LACK AN EFFECTIVE HSV-2 VACCINE?

This is the million dollar question, and will be precisely the focus of the Herpes Vaccine Blog.

I envision posts on the Herpes Vaccine Blog serving one of three general purposes, and these will be discussions of:

1.  The science of HSV-2 vaccines

2.  Moving a safe and effective HSV-2 vaccine into human trials

3.  Answers to specific reader queries (which may be sent to [email protected])

 

What I hope to make clear through the development of this blog is that a safe and effective HSV-2 vaccine lies within our grasp, but what we lack is a critical mass of support to advance such a HSV-2 vaccine to human clinical trials.  The primary barriers to the advancement of an effective HSV-2 vaccine are (1) misinformation and (2) a pre-conceived notion that certain types of HSV-2 vaccines (e.g., live-attenuated) should not be investigated or considered for use as a human vaccine.

One of the central purposes of this blog will be to (try to) simply explain why past HSV-2 vaccines have not worked, and define what we need to do differently in the future if we intend to end the needless suffering caused by genital herpes.  Make no mistake…..HSV-2 genital herpes is a vaccine-preventable disease.  However, the field of HSV-2 vaccine research is long overdue for a “course correction.”  I hope that this blog serves as a vehicle to increase the public’s understanding of what we need to be doing differently if we hope to make HSV-2 genital herpes a disease of the past.

– Bill Halford

 

76 thoughts on “Purpose of the Herpes Vaccine Blog

  1. Hello Dr. Halford, I respect you so much! You seem to be a very caring person, and can tell you are a very humble and down to earth person. I wish nothing but good for you and your family. I praise the type of person you are. Dr. Halford, I was just wondering, if you have considered performing trials in Mexico or any other country you would be comfortable with? In Mexico you wouldn’t be under FDA scrutiny; from what I understand. You can set up lab there at a rather inexpensive cost versus here in the US. To give you an idea, if you were to raise $100,000 for a lab in Mexico it would equal to having $1,000,000 in the US. Believe me people who suffer from this terrible disease will make the trip down to Mexico for a potential cure!! You can hire Mexican labor such as big corporations do; in order to save cost. I know it may sound far fetched and unrealistic but so are the FDAs demands and ignorance. I believe you can do it. I would even give you a helping hand; I have a medical background and speak the language. Not all parts of Mexico are a nightmare. IDK, if a phase 1 trial were to be performed there sometime next year, it would mean so much for so many. Maybe during your Summer break or something. Thank you once again, for all your information and for all you do. You are heaven sent.

  2. I’ll be ur Guinea pig lol I read about how successful your vaccine is in animals online..next step humans..anything is better then living with this! I feel like lack of funding is stopping the cure/vaccine, that and big companies/pharmaceuticals do not want to loose out on all the money they are making from the suppressant drugs. I want to thank you for your hard work in finding a cure/vaccination for this virus.
    I also read this :
    http://www.researchgate.net/publication/236963380_Efficacy_of_the_anti-VZV_(anti-HSV3)_vaccine_in_HSV1_and_HSV2_recurrent_herpes_simplex_disease

    Taking the anti-varicella zoster virus (anti-VZV, also known as anti-HSV3) vaccine (ckn pox vaccine) against orobuccal herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) and genital herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2). Does not cure the virus but stops outbreaks.
    From 2005 through 2011, for the 24 anti-VZV vaccinated patients, the average number of herpes relapses decreased to 0, correlated with an increased anti-VZV antibody level and of herpes relapses decreased to 0, correlated with an increased anti-VZV antibody level and clinical recovery of all patients, whereas no improvement was observed for the 26 non vaccinated herpes patients.
    Seems promising …since its a live strain as well….what do you think….lack of funding has stopped this study too….I just really wish for a cure/vaccine for the stopping of outbreaks(they r horrible)..and not having to worry about the life long expensive cost of med (which I am glad I have at least something to lean on ) .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herpes_simplex_research
    Thank you for your hard work and dedication to fighting this horrible virus.
    Amanda :)

    ABSTRACT Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the possibility of using the anti-varicella zoster virus (anti-VZV, also known as anti-HSV3) vaccine against orobuccal herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) and genital herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2). This was suggested by study of the phylogenetic tree of members of the herpes virus family, which showed a close relationship between VZV (HSV3) and the HSV1 and HSV2 herpes viruses.
    Methods: The present prospective study was conducted from January 2005 through January 2011. Twenty-four patients afflicted with HSV1 and HSV2 herpes recurrences over a period of years, numbering 6–8 and more recurrences per year, agreed to receive the anti-VZV vaccine. They were compared with 26 nonvaccinated patients presenting with herpes simplex diseases 2–5 times a year. All 50 patients were documented with anti-HSV1, anti-HSV2, and anti-VZV antibody serological testing.
    Results: From 2005 through 2011, for the 24 anti-VZV vaccinated patients, the average number of herpes relapses decreased to 0, correlated with an increased anti-VZV antibody level and clinical recovery of all patients, whereas no improvement was observed for the 26 nonvac- cinated herpes patients.
    Conclusion: Data for the anti-VZV serological antibody levels tested before and after anti- VZV vaccination showed a significant (P , 0.001) increase among vaccinated patients. This suggests defective anti-VZV immune power in these patients. After 6 years of positive results for anti-VZV vaccine, this is a logical and fair hypothesis. We can now undertake a randomized study to confirm these findings.

    • I also have had success w the VZV vaccine for my HSV1 outbreaks.
      After my 1st vaccination I was free of outbreaks for 4 years.
      I was revaccinated over a year ago and have had only 2 outbreaks so far.
      Incidentally, my outbreaks are quite severe, with ocular involvement.
      Dr Halford has been very helpful in sharing his learnings w lay people like myself.
      I have found most family doctors are not that informed re HSV1, so Bill’s advice has been invaluable.
      Bill, thank you so much! And here’s wishing everyone w HSV that Dr Halford continues to work on getting approval for his research!

  3. Hi Dr. Halford,
    I suffer from HSV2. The stigma from society and the emotional as well as physical damage it has done to me is a hard thing to deal with. I am currently taking a human pathophysiology class and we are discussing vaccines. From the readings and discussions, it seems to me that a live attenuated virus is the best option for preventing infections. Can you tell me why the government does not support you on your vaccine, even though you have had great success in animal trails? I know the likelihood of causing a herpes infection from a live attenuated virus vaccine is extremely minimal and would do a lot more good that bad (as seen with the polio live attenuated virus vaccine). If I had a ton of money I would donate it to you so you could move this vaccine to human clinical trials. I could be wrong, but I feel like the pharmaceutical companies don’t want a preventative vaccine for herpes because it would be a one time shot, versus having only therapeutic vaccines would mean continuous booster shots for those infected. Everything seems to boil down to money. Maybe if greed wasn’t so common these days, I would have already had a preventative vaccine for this before I became infected a couple of years ago (but that is just my opinion).

    • Dear E,

      You essentially asked “Why so much pushback regarding a live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine when it is the most logical solution, and in fact may be the only approach that is likely to stop the spread of HSV-2 genital herpes in the human population?”

      After asking the question, you postulate / ask that perhaps greed is the underlying motivation based on the conspiracy theory idea that drug companies like having a population of tens of millions of people who could potentially take valtrex every day. The staggering number of people who have active genital herpes disease accounts for why valtrex alone is a $1.2 billion per year drug.

      The greed hypothesis assumes that the scientific community (as a whole) has their act together enough to (1) agree upon the most logical path forward to prevent HSV-2 genital herpes with a vaccine, but (2) is actively suppressing the deployment of this vaccine technology. Let me reassure you that this is NOT TRUE, and is not the root cause of why we continue to lack a HSV-2 vaccine.

      Although greed is a powerful potential incentive, the real explanation is far more banal and boring and is the same root cause of most of the USA’s problems…….the powerful double-whammy combination of (1) profound ignorance and (2) intellectual arrogance amongst our so-called leaders. Every person has blind spots in their existing knowledge database, and so do effective leaders. However, effective leaders (in a democratic society) are not afraid to admit where the boundaries of their understanding lie, and hence they LISTEN when people who are better informed on a specific, small topic approach with a logical and cohesive argument that suggests, perhaps, a change in policy or approach may be warranted. However, most of the FDA / NIH leadership seems to run on CYA-based decisions, rather than logic-based decisions, which dictate that it is effectively better to maintain the status quo of HSV-2 vaccine research (unlikely to succeed, but will not ruffle anyone’s feathers) rather than risk backing a new live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine (more likely to succeed, but fraught with political danger and blow-back from the FDA).

      For the past 35 years, the leadership of the FDA, NIH, and Department of Health and Human Services has adamantly maintained that a “live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine would be too dangerous to investigate or deploy in the human population,” and so we have opted for so-called “safer” HSV-2 subunit vaccines like Herpevac that have failed in six human clinical trials spanning the past 25 years. Genocea’s GEN-003 and Agenus’s HerpV vaccine appear to be on track for similar costly and time-consuming (time-wasting) failures. In my estimation, the leadership of the FDA and the NIH has little interest in reconsidering the wisdom of a 35-year-old policy to deliberately avoid research / investigation that could lead to the development of a live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccines. In part, this reflects a failure to consider the FACT that live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccines can be produced that are very safe. The other part of the equation boils down to intellectual arrogance, and reticence amongst the FDA and NIH to take ownership of the consequences of a HSV-2 vaccine subunit development “strategy” that has been consistently failing for the past 30 years.

      Over 300 million people such as yourself have been newly infected with wild-type HSV-2 while the NIH and FDA have been blithely testing HSV-2 subunit vaccines for 30 years, and simultaneously refusing to advance a single live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine to a human clinical trial. I would suggest that our leaders at the NIH and/or FDA should educate themselves on the FACTS that clarify why a live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine is highly safe and feasible, and is ~100 times more effective (both in theory and practice) at preventing HSV-2 genital herpes.

      In my estimation, our continued lack of an effective HSV-2 vaccine stems from poor leadership within the scientific community, rather than greed. After 30 years of HSV-2 subunit vaccine failures, perhaps there will be a new willingness within the scientific community to consider the logical alternative that a live- and appropriately-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine might actually stop the spread of HSV-2 genital herpes in the human population, it it were only taken off of the sidelines and advanced to a human clinical trial.

      – Bill H.

      • Hi Bill.

        But where do we stand this days with the HSV-2 vaccine and l do mean the hole industry ? and where are you now on your HSV-2 vaccine , do have something that may work or?
        And what is the deal with Vical?:
        A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Dose-Escalation, Phase 1/2 Trial to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Herpes Simplex Virus, Type 2 Therapeutic DNA Vaccines in Symptomatic HSV-2-Seropositive Adults. For more information, please go to the NCT02030301 trial listing at ClinicalTrials.gov. ​

        • Hi Kim Olav,

          As a whole, I think a live- and appropriately-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine is the only viable HSV-2 vaccine strategy. Period. End of sentence. This is the approach that led to an effective chickenpox vaccine per the live-attenuated VZV Oka vaccine. I note that HSV-2 and VZV share ~60 viral genes in common and a similar lifestyle of establishing life-long latent infections in neurons, where the virus may remain latent and later reactivate (to cause shingles in the case of VZV).

          Vical is not a live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine, and hence I am not optimistic that it will succeed.

          ACAM-529 is a whole HSV-2 vaccine, but I am concerned that ACAM-529 may not be “appropriately attenuated,” but rather may be overattenuated because it cannot replicate in vaccine recipients. Not once in the history of mankind has a non-replicating virus, like ACAM-529, been used to effectively prevent / vaccinate against a viral disease. If ACAM-529 succeeds, it will be the first such “replication-defective virus” vaccine to do so.

          Live- and appropriately attenuated-viral vaccines have been used to prevent smallpox, yellow fever, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella, shingles, and rotavirus-induced diarrhea. I like the track record of live viral vaccines…..they always succeed provided that they are appropriately attenuated (not too much / not too little).

          You can ask about every HSV-2 vaccine approach that has ever been mentioned and/or advanced to a human clinical trial. My response will not waiver until I see hard evidence to the contrary. The available scientific evidence continues to suggest that only a live- and appropriately attenuated-HSV-2 vaccine will succeed, and thus I continue to search for a path to take my lab’s live HSV-2 vaccine forward to a human clinical trial. Perhaps the Vical trial based on immunization with pieces of HSV-2 (not the actual HSV-2 virus) will yield a different result, but I am not optimistic based on the success rate of past HSV-2 vaccines that introduce vaccine recipients to only small pieces of HSV-2.

          – Bill H.

          • Dr. Halford:

            What, specifically, would it take to take your live, attenuated vaccine, to human trials? How much money are we talking here, and would you attempt to do it here, or in another country where it might receive a more favorable research climate?

            Best,

            Jonathan

  4. It has been phenomenal to read the actual thoughts and workings of one of the premier authorities on the matter of HSV reduction and eradication. I have been suffering with HSV2 for the last 12 years of my life, and had that person informed me they had it, I would have been one of the few understanding souls she had encountered. Instead, she set out to ensure I contracted it being that she wanted to guarantee a permanent place in my life. She achieved her goal, but I am sure she intended to be at my side, rather than in my rear view as she stands today. I have infrequent recurrences which appear between 4 to 6 times annually. I would be more than willing to sign a release and take part in your trials. I know you said that there is little evidence to support a suppression of these trials and drugs from proceeding, but I am very observant and have reservations. Treatment has seemingly become the desired outcome of most of big pharms research, versus curing disease. Obviously, there would be a much greater return on any investment that is perpetuated by permanence. I look about, and it seems that erectile dysfunction has been more important than curing diseases such as HSV. I am just happy to know that someone somewhere realizes how important to humanity such a vaccine would be. I can only imagine how many people would have escaped HIV infection, or even not contracted a lesser STI or venereal disease had they not had an open, virus-laden lesion come in contact with their flesh. I thank you good doctor for all that you do. Godspeed my friend!

  5. Hi Dr. Halford,

    Is it possible to unknowlingly pass HSV-2 to your child ( 6 years old)? I’ve had it since before she was born, rarely get outbreaks, and they’re usually very mild, so I haven’t thought much of it. Should i be concerned about passing it to my daughter through touch, towels, baths, etc? My sister has HSV-1. Is that also a concern for transmission to my child genitally? Can HSV-1 cause genital lesions in children? I saw something on my daughter’s privates that looks like a lesion and am very concerned if it is. Thanks for any advice you may offer.

    • Hi Tanya,
      The risk of transmission would be minimal. If you had herpetic whitlow (HSV on your hands / fingernail area), then that would represent somewhat of a risk. But by-and-large, genital herpes is transmitted by DIRECT CONTACT with the infected area…….not from the genital area via an intermediate (hands or toilet seat) to someone else’s genitals. The scenario that concerns you seems highly unlikely to me.

      – Bill H.

  6. Dr Halford,

    Thank you again for your dedication and leadership in HSV research!

    I’m hoping that you may be able to comment on the following questions regarding HSV that I cannot seem to find the answers to:

    – I understand that antibodies are typically passed to a child by its mother, both while in the womb and after birth while breast feeding. I presume this would apply to HSV-2 antibodies provided the mother had sufficient time from exposure to develop a full immune response. Would that child also benefit from any long-term protection against the virus or would any benefit cease at the end of breast feeding? If there is a long-term benefit to the child, could this come from the father alone (i.e. long-standing history of hsv-2 by father prior to conception, with no history of hsv-2 by mother)?

    – I read an article in Scientific American (Sep 10, 2008) that stated children could inherit HHV-6 (Human Herpes Virus 6) from their parents DNA. It also stated that viral integration could disrupt chromosome function and spark a plethora of complications, including cancers. If that view is still held, is it possible for this type of thing to happen with the herpes simplex virus as well?

    – How likely would autoinoculation be for a long time sufferer of genital herpes? I ask because years ago when I first had outbreaks they would be on my penis, but more recently I’ve had them on my anus, buttocks and lower back/hip area. Would these outbreaks be distinct and separate from the primary area of infection years ago?

    – How long does the herpes virus survive outside of the human body? Are there any circumstances where the virus can survive away from its host for very long? What things would aid the virus in remaining viable outside of the body, and what things would destroy it (e.g. water, soap, light, heat, cold, chemicals)?

    Thank you for you interest.

    Sincerely,

    Warren

  7. Hey Bill, l love your blogg, this is a place we all can get a lot good information, l just got HSV-2 4 months a go out of the blue and like the others in here l`m desperate for a cure/vaccine,
    l have been together with my wife for 4 years and l now l suddenly have it, but she don`t have it.

    I`m from Norway Oslo and my Dr here did not speak to me about it at all, he just printed out the medicine prescription and told me good luck Mr, lol.

    l have been reading every day for past 3-4 months on it and l found your blogg today, it made me very happy. I have contacted Dr. Anna Wald she is famous for her research on HSV-2, she also talked about Genocea GEN-003, but l don`t know what good they are doing for the HSC-2, l asked here how long until she thought it would be a vaccine for commercial marked, she told me 5-7 years, that is way way to long l think, but l got to take here word for it.

    l would go any where any time to try any vaccine right now. l have a outbreak one`s every month now, 24 days between them, and it last about 10 days every time:( sow my sex life is more or less over for now. My english is not sow good, but l can´t say l could see any where that you worte about a time frame for a vaccine, and is there any place people like me with HSV-2 can be testing pet`s for a future vaccine ? ? I think most of us are willing to try any thing.

    One thing l will try is to take 250 mg of Valtrex twice a day one in the morning and one before sleep for one year to see if l can isolate it down to just 1-3 outbreaks a year, l see some of the Norwegian Dr saying that it`s been proven here in Norway that it can decrease the outbreaks and it will decrease the chances to transmit the HSV virus to you partner, but of course it`s still
    contagious but less becouse of the few outbreaks. But this i just what they wrote about a study here in Norway. My biggst problem is that Valtrex is sow expensive, it`s 40 pound per box that is a lot of money for one year.

    Hope to hear from you Bill:)

    Best regards
    Olav
    Norway.

    • Hi Olav,

      Glad to hear you have found information on the blog helpful. By the way, your English is a lot better than my Norwegian!

      Sorry to hear about the constant outbreaks; yes, I agree that this is horrible and if regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Europe ever pull their heads out of their bums, then they will realize that the idea of “saving the world from the dangers of a live HSV-2 vaccine” is about as stupid as they come, as the symptoms that you (and millions of others) are living with day-in and day-out is a hell of a lot worse than anything that my lab’s live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine (or any other of which I am aware) could possibly do to you relative to the symptoms of constant HSV-2 genital herpes outbreaks.

      If I can manage to get a therapeutic HSV-2 vaccine started somewhere in this wide world of ours, I will certainly advertise that information here on this blog, in precisely the same way that I have posted information on my thoughts on the promising HSV-2 ACAM-529 trials that are starting in Bethesda next month.

      In the meantime, I would suggest that you should give valtrex a go, and if money is an issue then you may wish to consider a generic form of acyclovir. In general, acyclovir is less effective than valtrex (less bioavailable), but does the trick for many people. Your case sounds challenging, so valtrex is your best bet. However, you can certainly give the less expensive acyclovir a go (i.e., acyclovir is about 10% the cost of valtrex), and maybe it will help you out as well.

      Good luck with this…..hope you can get this under control.

      – Bill H.

      • Thank you sow sow sow much Bill for writing back to me, l`m sow happy right now, you are the light in the tunnel for most of us in here, l know it`s gone take many years before we got HSV-2 vaccine, but l`m going to do what ever it takes to get this under control, l can`t let this take over my life any more, sow l will try to find the right dose to take every day and see if l more or less put it in checkmate for as long as possible, l know it will always come back 2 or 3 time a year and that`s okey.

        After 2-3 hundres of hours of reading on HSV-2 l can see that there are many different opinions from different Dr, seems that many doctors who write about HSV-2 do not really know 100% how the virus behaves and how it really transmitting, and they all say that it is transmitted through wounds / lems, but it says little about it is because the blisters rupture or that it will come fluid out of the urethra containing HSV -2 or that it is HSV-2 fluid comes out from the skin around where the old outbreaks have been. I really don`t understand how it`s transmitting when you not sick, l can se that it`s difficult to see when your going to have a outbreake, but lf l follow up on my areas l will feel and see the small
        blisters developing, sow when l know l don`t have the blisters it should be less chance of transmitting the HSV, but that just my opinion.

        The Norwegian health sytem writes just the same about HSV-2 no matter which article l read, completely useless information that I have read, funny because your info about HSV-2 is 1000% more valuable than my own health state info, there is no exact info there:(

        As I said in the last email, here in Norway l feelt that the Dr stigmatize me after l got the diagnosed with HSV-2, but that just life. As I also mentioned to you, if under any circumstance or chance`s would be possible in the future to pay my way into a HSV-2 vaccine test sow please be kind and let me know Bill. I`m willing to pay dearly to get this virus stopped. But l know you all work under really strict US rules, and roles are roles, but l can be the european lab rat:)hehe.

        Again thank you sow much Bill l will follow you for many ears sow you will hear from me again:)

        Best regards
        Olav:)

  8. I noticed you recommend longer duration of valtrex to reduce viral seeding in CNS. If such seeding takes place is it possible to reduce it or is it staying there ?

  9. I’m an immune suppressed transplant patient with hsv2 . With very frequent outbreaks. Almost continuously. Have I any hope of getting any relief or will I just have to live with this. Will these new vaccines help the likes of me

    • Paul,

      I am sorry to hear of your circumstance. Yes, you are correct that the immune system constantly does battle with so-called “latent” HSV-2 infections, and actively holds them down. When people are chronically immunosuppressed for clinical reasons (organ transplant or autoimmune disease), the scenario you describe is all too common and valtrex probably only takes the edge off, but does not really hold HSV-2 down without some more help from the immune system.

      It is indeed possible that a real therapeutic HSV-2 vaccine could help you out and help re-educate / re-focus your adaptive immune response on the enemy that is HSV-2. Wish I could tell you that more clinical trials of what I think would be an effective therapeutic HSV-2 vaccine are imminent; they are not, and Agenus HerpV and Genocea GEN-003 are a joke based on the data I have seen presented thus far. If a scientist uses the word “percentage” to describe a reduction, that is typically a bad sign. We should be looking for “fold reduction” not “percentage reduction.”

      I suspect that your immunosuppressed status would knock you out of contention for the ACAM-529 vaccine trial, but it cannot hurt for you to explore this option. Given your unusual circumstances, I would encourage you to e-mail me directly. Not sure that I can help, but you may have other questions that are better discussed in a non-public forum.

      – Bill H.

      • Bill could you tell me what effect tacrolimus and azathiaprin would have on anti body production. Would Igm and igg production be stopped or just slowed down in a primary hsv2 infection and how would that affect the course of outbreaks.

  10. Hi Dr Halford,

    I find it interesting that the makers of the chicken pox vaccine do not want to expand their pipeline to cover hsv2/1

    Mat

  11. Bill

    Thank you for your quick response!

    I certainly tick the boxes required.

    Thank you for your info, I look forward to any progression made.

    P.S Herpes Virus Association is the charity run support for Herpes in London, if you were to contact them, I’m sure if they made it public in England what you were trying to do, you might be able to get some funding help from them? If you Google HVA into the computer and their details will come up.

    Keep up the good work, thank you!

  12. Should your study move onto testing HSV2 positive patients, would I be eligible to apply? I’m from the UK but the suffering and mental/physical pain this is putting me through, I would temporarily re-locate for as long as needed.

    • Hi Esme,

      I would hope to set up a clinical trial that would be open to anyone who could travel to the clinical trial site, regardless of your country of origin. I still need to find a site, and hammer out such details, but my personal preference would be to set up a clinical trial for HSV-2 seropositive patients in exactly your situation. That is, I believe that the appropriate place to begin clinical trial testing is with patients who are (1) HSV-2 seropositive and who (2) currently suffer from the mental/physical pain of frequent to chronic genital herpes recurrences that are not currently alleviated by any available treatments.

      The advantage of this type of clinical trial is that (1) there is no rational argument that could be offered that a live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine could be any worse than what you are currently experiencing, (2) such a clinical trial would rapidly yield safety data in human subjects which would allow me to directly address the million-dollar question of “Is a live HSV-2 vaccine safe enough?”; and (3) we might be surprised to find that a live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine offers a viable therapeutic approach to reduce the symptoms of HSV-2 genital herpes in a significant fraction of patients who are in your situation and currently living with chronic herpes.

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      – Bill H.

      P.S. I don’t think relocation would be required. While you might need to travel to a clinical trial site on 2 or 3 occasions, most vaccination booster series are given with 3- to 6-week breaks in between shots. Like all vaccinations, the shot itself would take only a few minutes. Probably cheaper to travel to a clinical trial site 2 or 3 times (for a 1- to 2-day visit), as opposed to relocating somewhere new for 1 to 3 months.

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