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Many of our readers have been curious about the status of Dr. Harvey Friedman's (University of Pennsylvania) trivalent sub-unit herpes vaccine, given the recent disappointment of Genocea's GEN-003 vaccine candidate (1).

In my interview with him, Dr. Friedman addresses many of these questions:

JB: This past January you published a paper in PLOS Pathogens which discussed the immunological response of rhesus monkeys and guinea pigs to your trivalent HSV vaccine.  At the time you said, “I really do think this is more promising than other vaccine research out there. I've never seen anything published that comes close to our efficacy.

Has...

An initially promising vaccine against herpes (HSV-1 and HSV-2) has failed in a large clinical trial, the results of which were just published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers, led by a specialist in infectious diseases at St. Louis University in Missouri, are especially disappointed, given that two earlier but smaller trials for this new vaccine had found it effective.

The latest double-blind clinical trial randomly assigned 8,323 women, aged 18 to 30, who had no antibodies to HSV-1 or HSV-2, to receive either the herpes vaccine or a...

I have been paying close attention to the rapid developments in the race toward the world's first genital herpes vaccine. Since we first wrote about Genocea's GEN-003 efficacy in infected people this past March, hundreds of thousands of people have been following the vaccine's progress on this site alone.

This past September, I wrote about a small biotech, Rational Vaccines (RVx), which was co-founded by immunologist Dr. William Halford, an Associate Professor of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. To-date, Rvx had only conducted a very small (20 person) pilot study in St. Kitts, and claimed that the company's Theravax HSV-2 vaccine yielded results that...

Earlier this year, I wrote about GEN-003, the world's first effective genital herpes vaccine (1). Since that time, our readers have expressed considerable interest in the clinical progression of this vaccine. So, as your "one-stop herpes resource supercenter" (probably not something you'd want inscribed on your gravestone), we have been following this vaccine and other developments in the field.

This week, there are some preliminary, but nonetheless very interesting developments; this time with a different vaccine (two, actually). Rational Vaccines (RVx), a biotechnology startup founded in 2015, focuses on vaccines for both genital and oral herpes...

Since New, Promising Herpes Vaccine: Interview With Dr. William Halford was posted on October 17 many people have asked for more specific information about Theravax. The availability of the vaccine in the US (and in other countries) is a hot topic as well as Rational Vaccines' strategy of running a pilot study outside of the US.

Dr. Halford was kind enough to take the time to address these questions by making the following statement.

I do not believe that I said anything about making Rational Vaccines' Theravax HSV-2 vaccine available in the United States any time soon. This is certainly not where the clinical trial of this live HSV-2 vaccine was...

On September 26th, I wrote about Rational Vaccines (RVx), an Illinois-based company, which was formed in 2015 to develop vaccines that would prevent and treat herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), which causes genital herpes, and HSV-1, which also causes genital herpes as well as cold sores (1).

At that time, based on unpublished data from a study of the protective effects of their vaccine in mice and guinea pigs (2), it seemed that RVx’s live-attenuated herpes vaccine might have a significant advantage over Genocea’s GEN-003 subunit vaccine—the first-ever vaccine to treat HSV-2 in humans, which...

Good news in the world of virology.

For the first time, there is a promising vaccine to treat Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2), commonly known as genital herpes. HSV-2 is an infection that infects 500 million people worldwide, and 24 million in the United States, second in prevalence only to HPV among sexually transmitted viruses in the U.S. (The far more common herpes, which causes cold sores, is HSV-1.)

The vaccine, which is called GEN-003 is currently in Phase II trials (1), where it is doing rather well. More on this later.

For being such a common infection, there are big gaps in public knowledge about herpes, so here’s a quick primer:

  • Herpes never...

In March, I reported on stage II results of the first ever herpes vaccine and its effectiveness in people who were infected with herpes. Data from trials of Genocea Biosciences' GEN-003 showed a modest, but real, effect in reducing symptoms and shedding (1) in people who were infected with HSV-2 (genital herpes).

Last month, I reported on Rational Vaccines' Theravax, which claimed to have significant advantages over 003; although, it is important to keep in mind that their conclusion was based on a tiny pilot study, not a clinical trial, and they have refused to show any results...

The story of Rational Vaccines' pursuit of a therapeutic vaccine for genital herpes may go down as one of the strangest and most controversial chapters in the history of drug or vaccine development. Dr. Bill Halford, formerly an Associate Professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and virology and immunology expert, knew he was dying from nasal cancer which he had battled for years, but kept working in his lab until shortly before his death in July 2017. (You can read my interview with Dr. Halford here.) But it wasn't Halford's illness or endurance that makes this story so unusual; it was how the vaccine trials were conducted.

The story of Dr. Halford's ...

NanoBio Corporation, a Michigan based biotech, just announced that they have received a $1.5 million grant (1) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to run Phase II studies on its vaccine candidate for prevention (2) of herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) infection (3). The company developed a nanoemulsion oil-in-water (NE) technology (4)— a mixture of very small beads of oil and water—to help deliver vaccines both intranasally and intramuscularly.

During pre-clinical studies, which were conducted by researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, a nasallly administered version of NanoBio's NE vaccine has been studied in guinea pigs—a model that is known to be...