The line between the human herpes simplex viruses – HSV-1 and HSV-2 – is blurrier than previously thought, according to a new study published this week in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Researchers found that HSV-1 and HSV-2 are mixing together to result in several new, different recombinant versions of herpes.
“The main implication is that HSV-1 and HSV-2 are continuing to recombine,” said lead author Dr. Amanda Casto, a senior fellow in infectious diseases at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “This could have important implications for HSV vaccine development, because it means a live HSV-2 vaccine could recombine with circulating HSV-1 strains, thereby forming an infectious virus.”
HSV-1 and HSV-2 are two of the most common viruses affecting people. Moreover, humans are the only mammals that have two types of herpes simplex viruses.
Both viruses look alike clinically and are sensitive to the same drug, acyclovir. But they are genetically different. HSV-1 most commonly affects the mouth, while HSV-2 usually causes genital lesions.
More than two-thirds of the world’s population is estimated to be infected with one or both viruses, according to the World Health Organization.
Read more at UW Medicine
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