Friday, October 10, 2008

Herpes Research May Lead to Vaccine

University of Pittsburgh researchers say their recent findings about herpes may lead them closer to a vaccine. Their new study in the journal Science finds that the immune system plays an important role in keeping the virus "asleep" in the body. By identifying the specific types of cells responsible for controlling the virus, researchers say they can now work on boosting those cells to help prevent outbreaks.

Study co-author Kip Kinchington says this is a different approach than in past research, which focused on antibodies or on ways to prevent people from becoming infected.

Nine out of 10 people carry herpes simplex virus type one. Symptoms in most cases are minor, but about 250,000 people in the United States annually experience eye problems that can lead to blindness. The Pitt study was funded partly by the Eye and Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh.

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