Skip to content

    Genital Herpes Health Center

    Select An Article

    Genital Herpes Treatments in the Pipeline

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Researchers are hard at work on new treatments to fight genital herpes, otherwise known as herpes simplex virus 2.

    Microbicides are one option scientists are exploring in the search for new genital herpes treatments. Microbicides are chemicals that protect against infection by killing microbes (small organisms such as bacteria and viruses) before they enter the body. Two products show some promise -- tenofovir gel and siRNA nanoparticles -- microbicides that are applied to the vagina. Studies show these may be able to kill herpes, as well as some other sexually transmitted viruses, and even reduce the spread of the herpes virus from person to person.

    Recommended Related to Genital Herpes

    Tests to Diagnose Genital Herpes

    Genital herpes is a common STD; however, many people who have this sexually transmitted disease don't know they have it. Genital herpes frequently has no symptoms, so you can be infected and contagious without knowing it. When symptoms do occur, they can easily be mistaken for something else. Without adequate testing you may be told you are infected with genital herpes and not be, or the other way around. If you have sores on your genitals, your health care provider can perform tests to determine...

    Read the Tests to Diagnose Genital Herpes article > >

    Scientists also are working on new drugs that keep the herpes virus from replicating. To replicate (make copies of itself), a virus has to duplicate its DNA exactly. Scientists hope these new drugs will prevent the virus from doing that.

    Everyone would like a vaccine that protects against HSV-2, but experimental products have had mixed and somewhat discouraging results.

    Clinical Trials: Key to Genital Herpes Research

    Although these new genital herpes treatments are just on the horizon, it may be years before any are available to consumers.

    The process of introducing a new treatment to the public can be a long one. Before the FDA approves a drug, it must go through rigorous clinical trials, which are divided into three phases. In phase I, researchers try to find out if the drug is safe for people to take. If the drug is deemed safe, it may go on to phase II, when researchers aim to determine if the drug works as it should. They also collect more safety data. In phase III trials, they expand their research to include more patients in more places.

    To conduct a clinical trial, scientists need people to participate voluntarily. Clinical trials often involve thousands of patients who volunteer to take the experimental drug. The FDA and an independent review board carefully monitor every aspect of the trial. There are rules the researchers must follow to ensure that their work is scientifically correct and ethically sound. Study volunteers have clearly defined rights, such as the right to drop out of the trial at any time.

    While there are risks involved in joining a clinical trial, there may be benefits, too. You might get a new "wonder drug" long before it hits the market. If you're interested, ask your doctor if you could benefit by joining one. Your doctor may know of a trial that is seeking volunteers in your area. The National Institutes of Health also has an online database that you can search. This web site provides detailed information on what's involved in joining a clinical trial.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on September 22, 2014
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    STD Overview
    Slideshow
    BHC Healthy Sex Life
    Quiz
     
    things your guy wish you knew slideshow
    Slideshow
    Sex Drive Killers 03
    Slideshow
     
    Genital Herpes Risks Quiz
    Quiz
    Young couple holding hands
    Quiz
     
    Hepatitis Prevent 10
    Feature
    Herpes Vaccine Study
    Video
     
    Daughter Development Evaluator
    Article
    HPV Vaccine Future
    Article
     
    STD Facts Quiz
    Quiz
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
     

    WebMD Special Sections