There is currently no cure or preventive treatment for herpes infection. If a person contracts any form of herpes virus infection, they will have it for life, whether they have symptoms or not. 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.
Acyclovir is an antiviral medication that treats infections caused by the herpes simplex virus, including genital herpes. You may recognize acyclovir by its brand names such as Zovirax, Cymex Ultra, and Virasorb. However, you can take medicines that make outbreaks shorter and less painful, and that can help prevent future outbreaks. While antivirals may be successful in controlling herpes symptoms, researchers have also focused their attention on the important issue of antiviral therapy and asymptomatic elimination.
Does suppressive therapy reduce the risk of reactivation of unrecognized herpes and stop recognized outbreaks? A study that addressed this issue revealed that women taking acyclovir suppressor (400 mg, twice daily) had a 94% reduction in subclinical excretion while taking daily treatment. This type of study has also been conducted with famciclovir and valaciclovir, with similar reductions in both men and women. Antiviral drugs available in pill form (acyclovir, valacyclovir, famciclovir) have been developed specifically for the treatment of genital herpes. However, it's not uncommon for healthcare providers to prescribe antiviral medications to those who have frequent or severe outbreaks of oral herpes.
A recent study found that valacyclovir is effective in treating oral herpes with a one-day treatment of 2 grams at the first sign of cold sores and then again about 12 hours later. 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. Until the herpes cure becomes a reality, you can continue to use current herpes treatments to control outbreaks. Pharmaceutical companies are eager to discover a cure for herpes, but first they must overcome an extremely lengthy and expensive research process.
Keith Jerome began to explore the idea that lifelong herpes virus infections could be cured by using gene therapy tools to cut DNA. Although there is no cure for herpes, there are many ways to treat symptoms and control the infection. Advances in herpes cure research over the past five years are largely due to a series of improvements in gene-editing tools.