Biotech company, Rational Vaccines has released promising data from their Phase I human clinical trial testing their Herpes vaccine candidate, Theravax. According to a press release issued by the company, the live-attenuated herpes vaccine could be a “functional cure” for those suffering from herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1 or HSV-2) infections.
The clinical trial sought to determine how safe and tolerable the Theravax vaccine was in patients with recurrent genital herpes. All 17 of the participants in the small study reported that the three-shot vaccine was more effective at reducing herpes symptoms, compared to approved antiviral medications.
Patients reported an average 3.2 reduction in the number of days they experienced herpes-related symptoms per month, compared to their previous experience taking antiviral drugs. Lead by head researcher, inventor and Chief Science Officer of Rational Vaccines, Dr. William Halford, the clinical trial was the first human trial of a live-attenuated therapeutic herpes vaccine.
“Doctors have been trying to manage genital herpes for 30 years with acyclovir-like antiviral drugs, and the approach has not stopped the spread of herpes,” said Halford, who has been working on Theravax in preclinical studies for over 10 years. “Over one million people per week continue to be newly infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2. It is time to offer herpes sufferers a 21st century solution with the potential to not only better treat herpes, but to simply stop the spread of the disease.”
One in six people in the US between the ages of 14 and 49 suffers from genital herpes. In addition to the painful symptoms of infection, HSV-1 can cause blindness and encephalitis.
Antiretroviral drugs are currently the only regulator-approved treatment for herpes. Rational Vaccines continues to follow patients who participated in the Phase I clinical trial, in an effort to monitor symptoms of HSV-2 infection.
“This is a very exciting time when it comes to medical innovations. Dr. Halford has created a safe and effective vaccine,” said Agustin Fernandez III, CEO of Rational Vaccines. “Dr. Halford’s research and our company’s recent clinical trial have opened the door to a better world where herpes no longer has to be suffered in silence, but can be treated and prevented.”