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Herpes Vaccine on the Horizon

National study to begin soon

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- A national, four-year herpes vaccine study involving 7,550 American women will begin within the next few weeks.

St. Louis University will lead the U.S. National Institutes of Health research into the investigational vaccine to prevent genital herpes in women. The vaccine was developed by GlaxoSmithKline.

The study will be conducted at 16 sites across the United States, with about 500 people enrolled at St. Louis University's Vaccine Center.

Herpes is one of the most common of human infections and a serious health problem. Many people infected with the herpes simplex virus have no symptoms. However, herpes infections can cause major stress and discomfort. It's also a serious health threat to newborn babies who are infected with herpes at birth.

Herpes causes small, painful, fluid-filled blisters on the skin and mucous membranes of infected people. These symptoms usually last one to two weeks. However, the herpes virus stays in the body and may continue to cause outbreaks.

Such outbreaks can happen many times each year. They sometimes happen after an illness, or can be triggered by emotional or physical stress, sunlight exposure, or some kinds of foods or medications.

Previous clinical trials with this investigational herpes vaccine included more than 2,700 people aged 18 to 45. Those studies found that about 73 percent of women who were free of herpes infection at the start of the trials and who received the vaccine were protected against genital herpes.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about genital herpes.

SOURCE: St. Louis University, news release, December 2002
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