Scientists have developed a microbicide that protects mice against the lethal genital herpesvirus (HSV-2). The approach, described in a paper published online by Nature (Vol. 438, No. 7067, 24 Nov 2005), relies on RNA interference (RNAi) to disrupt both infection by and replication of the virus. Judy Lieberman and her colleagues show that in mice, vaginal delivery of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) against two of the viral genes protects the mice against HSV infection for six days. Notably, the siRNAs did not cause an inflammatory response, showed an effect when administered after, as well as before, infection, and were required in amounts that would have a realistic cost if translated to humans.
The team points out that future therapies blocking HSV in humans could help curb the spread of HIV, as HSV-2 infection assists HIV transmission.
Judy Lieberman (The CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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