Cream Protecting Against Genital Herpes Developed

Jan 23, 2009
Scientists developed a new vaginal cream that protects women against infecting with genital herpes for about a week. The innovative treatment works by suppressing genes that the herpes simplex 2 virus uses to attack cells.

The study was conducted by Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Harvard Medical School. The cream was developed by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. using the technique known as RNA interference. This method works by blocking the virus in two ways: making it impossible for the virus to reproduce and disable the ability of other cells to catch up the herpes simplex 2. The new drug was created to silence genes nectin-1 and UL29 , which gives protection against genital herpes for as long as a week.

The tests conducted on mice showed that the microbicide cream applied on genitals of the mice was effective and did not irritate their vaginas.

Scientists claim that the cream can be used to prevent the transmission and reactivation of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). When applied to genitals, this creates protection against genital herpes for up to a week before sexual contact. The new treatment is promising for other sexually transmitted diseases and may be used to develop protection against AIDS virus.

According to WHO, more than 500 million people are infected with genital herpes each year. Genital herpes is the most prevalent STD, which is not curable. About 80 percent of people, who have genital herpes are not aware about having it, because they do not have any symptoms. Drugs like Acyclovir are used to lessen the symptoms, but do not cure the disease.