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Herpes simplex virus (HSV) can be treated effectively with the use of antiviral nucleoside medicines in general, but the increased reported antiviral resistance challenges the use of such medicinal products. Therefore, alternate treatment options for controlling HSV replication need to be explored.
There are only a handful of medications available in patients with Herpes Simplex-1 virus (HSV-1), which can influence eyes, mouth, and genitals. When patients develop resistance to these drugs, the lifetime treatment of the infection still remains less. A small drug molecule has now been identified by researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago to clear HSV-1 infection in the cells of the horn—the transparent outer layer of the eyeball―and works entirely different from the currently available medicines, thereby providing a promising potential option for patients with resistance to disease. Researchers believe that the drug can also help with HSV-1 and the HSV-2 treatment, which mainly affects the genitals, as well as other viral infections such as HIV.
HSV-1 is one of the most prevalent pathogens for humans, affecting 50 to 90 percent of the world's population. HSV-1 mainly infects the mouth and eyes, although HSV-1 infections are growing in the genitals. Body fluids spread the virus. It develops a lifelong infection which causes sore in the tissues concerned when active and hides during their latent phase in the nerve cells. Oral and topical antiviral medications can temporarily eliminate the infection in the eye, but corneal inflammation can persist indefinitely and require continuous steroid-based treatment. Infection with HSV-1 is the leading cause of infectious blindness in the United States.
Current drugs for the treatment of HSV-1 act by preventing the virus from producing the proteins that it needs to replicate and are referred to as nucleoside analog. The continuous use of nucleoside analogs, which can cause serious side effects, including glaucoma, when topically applied to the eye, is a significant problem.
The development of new HSV therapeutics is clearly impeded by pharmaceutical industry lack of interest. The market need for additional medicinal products is significantly reduced from the perspective of most pharmaceutical companies, because of the high safety of medicines such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir.