A new anti-herpes agent derived from a common herb effectively treats and prevents the disease in animals. Researchers from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia present their data today at the 103rd General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
For over 30 years, physicians have assumed that any expectant mother with genital herpes lesions at delivery must deliver her baby by Caesarian section to minimize chances of transmission of the disease to the infant, although there was no clinical or research information supporting that practice. A study by University of Washington physicians confirms that Caesarian section is indeed the way to go to prevent transmission of HSV (herpes simplex virus).
It’s one of those stories that simultaneously gives great hope but also a little dread. Researchers in Pennsylvania say they’ve successfully stimulated the production of a pain-blocking protein in mice by using a modified herpes virus to attach the appropriate genes onto the animals’ DNA. That’s potentially terrific news. If the same technique held true in humans, it could offer a new way to treat the devastating pain associated with some forms of cancer, such as bone cancer. Of course, a hell of a lot of mice were bred specifically develop the extremely painful bone tumors, just so the technique could be tested. It’s no doubt a necessary sacrifice, but one that shouldn’t be overlooked entirely. You don’t have to be a wacko member of PETA to spare a thought for the millions of mice and other lab animals that are sacrificed each year so humans can live healthier lives.