How can I cure Herpes

M K Bennett pamkb at
Fri Jun 2 03:21:38 EST 1995

grad student (grad at wrote:
: In article <3qh5kj$fro at>, yelnif at (Yelnif)
: wrote:

: > sorry, no cure.  Herpes is a latent virus and reoccurance of the virus is
: > just a fact of life.  The drug acyclover will stop the reoccurances faster
: > than your own immune system can but will not kill the latent infection.

: But, even in latency, isn't the viral DNA still being transcribed by the
: host? If so, then some novel non-self proteins should be formed, degraded,
: and presented on the cell surface. A humoral or T cell attack could be
: directed against such herpes peptides...


The transcripts that you refer to are called the Latency Associated
Transcripts (LAT to their friends).  Now the major LAT is in fact an
intron, why an intron builds up to detectable levels is unknown.  Neither
is it known if there is a protein produced.  There was one report
regarding a possible protein product and the production of an antibody but
this hasn't been repeated.  In the LAT region on the HSV genome there are
numerous possible open reading frames (something like 30) but as yet no
one has found a protein product.  

Anyway, latency is probably a default step for the virus rather than
something that it wants to do.  A lack of transcription factors or
something similer in the infected cell meaning that the virus is incapable
of replicating efficiently so it enters a latant infection.

If the system was as simple as you described latency wouldn't happen, end
of story.  But latency does happen and its a hassle especially when you
are working with immunocomprimised people such as in organ transplants. 
So you have the virus for life, unless someone comes up with a clever way
of getting rid of it :-)

Mike Bennett D.Phil		|Scientists have odious manners, except when
Dept Pathology and Microbiology,|you prop up their theory; then you can borrow
University of Bristol, UK	|money from them--Mark Twain 1917 
m.k.bennett at	|

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