Herpes Simplex a Major Contributor to Alzheimer’s Disease?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Herpes" by LEONARDO DASILVA is licensed under CC BY 2.0Prof Ruth Itzhaki PhD
Emeritus Professor
Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology
The University of Manchester

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Over 30 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and unfortunately, this figure will rise as longevity increases, so the need for effective treatments is extremely urgent. Current treatments, at best, alleviate symptoms but do not prevent further deterioration. Our research has strongly implicated a common virus in the development of the disease, indicating a direct route to treatment: very effective and safe antiviral agents are available to combat the virus and thus to treat AD patients. They indicate also the future possibility of preventing the disease by vaccination against the virus in infancy.

The virus implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), is the one that causes cold sores. It infects most humans in infancy and thereafter remains lifelong in the body in latent (i.e., dormant) form within the peripheral nervous system (PNS – the part other than the brain and the spinal cord). Occasionally, if the person is stressed, the virus becomes activated and in some people it then causes cold sores.  Continue reading

Pubic Hair Grooming Linked To Increased Risk of STDs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

E. Charles Osterberg, M.D. Assistant Professor of Surgery Genitourinary Reconstruction and Trauma University of Texas- Dell Medical School Dell-Seton Medical Center / University Hospital

Dr. Osterberg

E. Charles Osterberg, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Genitourinary Reconstruction and Trauma
University of Texas- Dell Medical School
Dell-Seton Medical Center / University Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Pubic hair grooming has become an increasingly common practice among men and women. Perceptions of genital normalcy have changed as modern society’s definition of attractiveness and feelings of femininity and masculinity have changed. Pubic hair grooming has been shown to increase morbidity such as genital injuries, however little is known about the relationship between grooming practices and sexually transmitted infections.

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First Therapeutic Vaccine For Genital Herpes Shows Promise

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Zeena Y. Nawas, MD Clinical Research Fellow Center for Clinical Studies Houston, TX, 77004

Dr. Zeena Nawas

Zeena Y. Nawas, MD
Clinical Research Fellow
Center for Clinical Studies
Houston, TX, 77004

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Nawas: T cell immunity is believed to be particularly critical to the control of genital herpes, an incurable, lifelong sexually transmitted disease that affects roughly 500 million people worldwide. Genital herpes is characterized by recurrent, painful genital lesions and can be transmitted to sexual partners, even when there is no visible sign of the infection. Current genital herpes therapies only partially control the infection in some patients. These individuals continue to experience clinical symptoms and viral shedding, which drives disease transmission. Incomplete control of genital lesions and transmission risk, and the inconvenience of taking a daily medication are hurdles for effective long-term disease management.

GEN-003, is a first-in-class immunotherapy developed by Genocea Biosciences and is intended to treat genital herpes by inducing both a T cell and B cell (antibody) immune response. GEN-003 has demonstrated promising results to date by showing statistically significant reductions in the clinical signs of genital herpes and viral shedding, as well as safety and tolerability in its Phase 1/2 and Phase 2 clinical studies.

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Ocular Herpes Can Rarely Occur After Varicella Vaccine

Frederick W. Fraunfelder, MD MBA Chairman and Roy E. Mason and Elizabeth Patee Mason Distinguished ProfessorDepartment of Ophthalmology Missouri University School of Medicine Director of the Missouri University Health Care’s Mason Eye Institute

Dr. Rick Fraunfelder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Frederick W. Fraunfelder, MD MBA
Chairman and Roy E. Mason and Elizabeth Patee Mason Distinguished ProfessorDepartment of Ophthalmology
Missouri University School of Medicine
Director of the Missouri University Health Care’s Mason Eye Institute

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Fraunfelder: The background starts with a paper by Hwang et al (Cornea. 2013 Apr;32(4):508-9.Reactivation of herpes zoster keratitis in an adult after varicella zoster vaccination. Hwang CW Jr1Steigleman WASaucedo-Sanchez ETuli SS.) After reading this paper, I started keeping track of keratitis cases that were reported to my registry (www.eyedrugregistry.com) and also to the FDA and WHO spontaneous reporting databases. We found case reports in adults and children of keratitis occurring soon after vaccination, and we presented this at the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual meeting that we just held in Las Vegas in November 2015.

The main findings are that in rare instances, relatively speaking, herpes infection can occur in the cornea of the eye within days to weeks after vaccination. This may especially be true in adults who have had shingles in the past which caused a keratitis in the past. This keratitis may reoccur after the vaccination, and primary care providers should inquire about this past medical/ocular history and advise of the risk of recurrent keratitis after the vaccination for shingles.

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Tenovir Gel May Reduce Risk of Both HIV and Herpes Simplex

Dr. Salim Abdool Karim at CAPRISA Doris Duke Medical Research Institute South AfricaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Salim Abdool Karim at CAPRISA
Doris Duke Medical Research Institute
South Africa

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Globally, Herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) is among the most common sexually transmitted infections and is the leading cause of genital ulcers. Available global estimates indicate that approximately 417 million sexually active adults between the ages of 15 and 49 years had an existing prevalent HSV-2 infection in 2012. Current interventions to prevent HSV-2 infection, including condoms, circumcision, and antiviral treatment among heterosexual, HSV-2-discordant couples, have demonstrated protection levels ranging from 6% to 48%. This study showed that peri-coital tenofovir gel reduced HSV-2 acquisition in women by 51%, rising to 71% in high gel-users.

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Much of HIV Transmission Driven By Herpes Co-Infection

Dr. Don C. Des Jarlais PhD Director, International Research Core, Center for Drug Use and HIV Research Research Fellow, NDRI Director of Research, Baron Edmond de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute, Beth Israel Medical Center Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of MedicineMedicalResearch Interview with:
Dr. Don C. Des Jarlais PhD
Director, International Research Core, Center for Drug Use and HIV Research
Research Fellow, NDRI
Director of Research, Baron Edmond de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute, Beth Israel Medical Center
Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Des Jarlais: HIV infection among non-injecting users of heroin and cocaine doubled doubled over the last several decades, from 7% to 14%. Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) increases both susceptibility to and transmissibility of HIV. We examined HSV-2 infection among non-injecting heroin and cocaine user over the same time period using stored serum samples. HSV-2 infection was strongly related to HIV infection, and both increased over time. We calculated population attributable risk percentages (PAR%) to estimate the extent to which HSV-2 was driving increased HIV infection. HSV-2 infection was responsible for approximately half of the increase in HIV infection
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Oral HIV Prophylaxis May Also Provide Some Protection Against Herpes

Connie Celum, MD, MPH Professor of Global Health and Medicine Director, International Clinical Research Center University of Washington Harborview Medical Center Seattle WA  98104MedicalResearch.com: Interview with
Connie Celum, MD, MPH
Professor of Global Health and Medicine
Director, International Clinical Research Center
University of Washington
Harborview Medical Center
Seattle WA  98104

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Celum: We conducted a randomized, double blind study of daily oral tenofovir and tenofovir combined with emtricitabine (FTC) as oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV among HIV serodiscordant couples (in which onepartner had HIV and the other partner did not) in Kenya and Uganda. Because of recent studies showing that tenofovir gel could reduce the chances of becoming HSV-2 infected, we studied the subset of HIV-uninfected partners who did not have HSV-2 and compared the rates who became HSV-2 infected during follow-up among those  who received oral pre-exposure prophylaxis versus those who received placebo.  We found that oral pre-exposure prophylaxis reduced HSV-2 acquisition by 30%.

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