Efficacy results of a trial of a herpes simplex vaccine.

ECDC comment

Belshe RB, Leone PA, Bernstein DI, Wald A, Levin MJ, Stapleton JT, Gorfinkel I, Morrow RL, Ewell MG, Stokes-Riner A, Dubin G, Heineman TC, Schulte JM, Deal CD; Herpevac Trial for Women. N Engl J Med. 2012 Jan 5;366(1):34-43.

In a study population that was representative of the general population of HSV-1–and HSV-2–seronegative women, the investigational vaccine resulted effective in preventing HSV-1 genital disease and infection but not in preventing HSV-2 disease or infection. A point that needs further development is why the biologic characteristics of HSV-1 are different from those of HSV-2: the vaccine induces significant protection against genital HSV-1 disease as well as HSV-1 infection, but not against disease or infection caused by HSV-2. Although the development of a vaccine that provides some protection against HSV-1 genital disease is a substantial step forward, additional progress is needed before a herpes vaccine is likely to be approved for general use.