The Top-Ten upcoming new herpes drugs
The acyclovir family of herpes antivirals has been around in one form or another for the last 20 years. It's high time some progress was made, especially given that the ASHA says 50% of women in the USA will have genital herpes by 2025.
Here is a shortlist of the most likely new treatments to become available soon, in order of how close they are to market, number 1 being the closest to market. Make your own additions to, or comments on, the list.
Here's the countdown:
Although there's a mysterious quiet at GSK recently, Herpevac is apparently finishing up Phase III trials. It won't be of any use to anyone who already has herpes, but it's the first real attempt to bring a vaccine to market. Rumor has it that the vaccine is around 75% effective in women who don't already carry either herpes type.
2. Nanobio NB-001
Ok, so it's a cream, but it's no ordinary cream. Nanobio's NB-001 uses extremely small particles called nanodroplets, which penetrate the skin and attack the virus directly. It makes Zovirax look antiquated.
3. Starpharma Vivagel
A new condom-coating that might also come as a cream. Recent trials on animals have shown it is between 85 and 100 per cent effective at blocking HIV and Herpes transmission.
4. Astellas ASP-2151
The most promising of the long-awaited Helicase Primase Inhibitors (HPI) drugs. And I really mean long-awaited. This is like super-acyclovir, and there's been some speculation that it could inhibit the virus so effectively that asymptomatic shedding may not be an issue.
5. Immunovex HSV2
A genetically-modified live herpes virus that won't be able to cause any symptoms, but will guard against infection from the symptomatic type. Immunovex plan to hold Phase I trials this year. The theory behind the vaccine is solid, and the animal trials were successful.
Harvard's modified herpes virus can't multiply or infect cells. Two important genes are deleted to take the bite out of herpes. Scientists hope that this vaccine will prepare the body should it be attacked by the real virus. It may also help symptomatic people already carrying herpes. Acambis are investigating the technology, and Harvard continues to research the treatment. You can donate to their research here.
7. University of Florida vaccine
This is pretty much the Holy Grail of herpes vaccines, with the potential to actually cure people of the virus. The University proposes a vaccine that actually cuts into the structure of the virus, damaging it so significantly that it is eaten up by the body.
8. Bill Halford's vaccine
Great ideas from this inspiring maverick researcher. Halford plans to use a live virus to stimulate constant inoculation against nastier strains. By deleting an important part of the herpes virus, Halford can produce a new type of herpes virus that does infect you, but won't produce visible signs. If everyone's asymptomatic then the virus will be soon forgotten.
This novel drug could combat a range of viruses, from Herpes to HIV. Bavituximab is an antiviral that could be to viruses what antibiotics are to bacteria.
10. Vironova's VN-180
An interesting broad-spectrum antiviral with a range of possible applications, like Bavituximab. It looks impressive, but is in the very early stages of development.