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Saturday, 30 April 2005 09:39
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Gel to protect against genital herpes
Dr Judy Lieberman and colleagues at Harvard Medical School have developed a gel that could protect against genital herpes for up to 10 days.

The gel blocks herpes transmission by destroying the virus. The gel contains small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that trigger the destruction of viral genes it is applied to the vagina, where they are absorbed and remain active for at least 10 days.

Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus. In America, 1 in 5 people are infected and in Britain, about a fifth of people who are sexually active are infected. The largest number is in Africa, where up to 50% of people have the virus. The virus can sit latent in cells for long periods of time and the person may not know they have it and can pass it on to partners.

The studies on mice have shown that the gel completely blocks infection.

Dr Lieberman told New Scientist where the early findings are published that if it works in people too, the long-lasting protection would be a great advantage.

"The problem with microbicides is that people don't remember to use them before they have sex”.

Marion Nicholson, director of the Herpes Virus Association, said: "This is very interesting, although it is early days yet."


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