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Herpes As a Vaccine Vector

Herpes As a Vaccine Vector


Ask anyone infected with herpes if there's an upside to the sexually transmitted disease, and you're likely to get an incredulous look. But scientists at the Wistar Institute Vaccine Center report in the journal Nature Medicine that the herpes virus may actually hold the key to developing effective vaccines against HIV, cervical cancer, hepatitis, and other viral diseases. A herpes protein, called glycoprotein D, has been shown to help prompt a stronger immune system response to inactivated or weakened viruses in preventive vaccines. Including the protein in a preventive shot, the researchers say, could enhance the vaccine's protection against the targeted ailment. 'The problem with HIV vaccines is that they might look good in mice and primates, but comparable doses in humans are too toxic,' lead researcher Hildegund C.J. Ertl says. 'If you lower the dose to avoid toxic side effects, you don't get the immune response you need.' She believes that using glycoprotein D may solve that problem.

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