The inventor of the cervical cancer vaccine is trying to revolutionize sexual health. Again.
Ian Frazer, the inventor of the world's first cervical cancer vaccine, is back to the lab and set to aid an entirely new group of sexually active individuals. His company, Admedus, announced today that they had completed safety trials on a new vaccine for genital herpes. The intention is that the vaccine will be used to both prevent the herpes type 2 virus and to help cure it in those already living with the disease. The company, founded in Australia, looks to help a stigmatized group and curious adolescents who may be at a greater risk due to lack of sex education.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in six people ages 14 to 49 are infected with genital herpes, so a huge percentage of the sexually active population could stand to benefit from a revolutionary vaccine. Currently, there is no cure for herpes and the best treatments are antiviral medications that can help reduce the possibility of transmission from one partner to another. For one out of six people, flare-up prevention doesn't seem enough. This new herpes vaccine, if it ever comes to market, will work by training the body's immune cells, known as t-cells, to target the virus. Efficacy tests will continue throughout the year, but scientists are claiming the results look promising.
Skeptics have long claimed that vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases only encourage risky, irresponsible behavior among young adults. The whole, "My mom made me get a shot, we don't need a condom, baby," predicament. But if recent studies indicating the HPV vaccine has no link to increased risky behavior are true, a potential herpes vaccine could only help future generations looking to have a good time — without a lifetime sentence of sores.
Image via Veer.