Is a Cure for Herpes on the Horizon?

Herpes simplex viruses affect billions of humans around the world. According to the World Health Organization, two-thirds of the world's population under 50 are carriers of the herpes simplex virus type 1, or HSV-1, which mainly causes cold sores, while 491 million people between the ages of 15 and 49 are infected with the closely related HSV-2, which is the cause of sexually transmitted genital herpes. Curing herpes with CRISPR is possible, but not soon. What seems to be an elusive achievement, will there ever be a cure? The answer is yes. It may not be that soon, but given clinical trials and ongoing research, curing herpes is very feasible.

The nature of the virus that causes herpes infection is one of the main reasons why there is no cure for herpes yet. Advances in herpes cure research over the past five years are largely due to a series of improvements in gene-editing tools. Although it has already been proven effective after years of study and research, having a cure is still the best option for millions of infected people. Dr. Sita Awasthi, associate research professor in the division of infectious diseases at the Perelman School of Medicine, states that more than one in 10 Americans age 49 and younger are infected with genital herpes.

Keith Jerome began to explore the idea that lifelong herpes virus infections could be cured by using gene therapy tools to cut DNA. Herpes can hide in nerve cells for a long time before becoming active, making it difficult to find a cure. Pharmaceutical companies are eager to discover a cure for herpes, but first they must overcome an extremely lengthy and expensive research process. Until the herpes cure becomes a reality, you can continue to use current treatments to control outbreaks. There is currently no cure for the virus, but there are treatments that can reduce the symptoms and infectiousness of the disease.

Medications have come a long way in helping to suppress herpes and it is possible that it can be cured in the future. The first results suggest that there is hope for a vaccine, but as with the CRISPR cure for herpes, the final results are still years away. It will still be a long time before these experiments lead to the first human trials of gene therapy to cure herpes. Jerome estimates that there are at least three years to go. This vaccine is good news for all people at risk of contracting an STI.

With clinical trials and ongoing research, a cure for herpes is very feasible and could be available in the near future.