Thursday, January 30, 2014

Experimental Drug Pritelivir Shows Promise for Genital Herpes Treatment

An experimental drug could eventually offer a new treatment option for genital herpes, a common and incurable sexually transmitted infection, researchers report.

In a small study, researchers found that the drug -- called pritelivir -- substantially curbed "viral shedding" in people with genital herpes. That means it decreased the amount of time the virus was active and potentially transmissible to patients' sexual partners.
The findings, reported in the Jan. 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, are based on 156 patients followed for just four weeks. Experts cautioned that the study is preliminary and offers a "proof of concept."
Still, they said, the results are important because pritelivir is the first in a new class of drugs that works differently than existing medications for genital herpes. The hope is that pritelivir will be better at preventing transmission of the virus.
"There was a fairly dramatic decrease in the probability of viral shedding in this study," said Dr. Richard Whitley, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
There is still a lot of research to be done, said Whitley, who wrote an editorial published with the study. But he said it's good news that drugs that work in new ways are under development.
"We're at the beginning of a new era" in genital herpes treatment, Whitley said.

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