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Herpes gets in your eyes.

2 Herpes simplex type I, the virus that causes cold sores around the lips, can

prove nasty if it gets into the eyes.

While cold sores are common, only a small proportion of those who get them ever develop the eye infection. Sequestered in nerve cells, the virus activates periodically When the infection repeatedly flares up in the eye, it can scar the cornea.

Right now, the only way to treat herpes infections is with expensive antiviral medication. Even with treatment, scarring can progress and lead to a loss of vision, says Anthony B. Nesburn of the University of California, Los Angeles. Nesburn thinks a therapeutic vaccine may help, and he is testing one in rabbits. Rather than preventing herpes infection, such vaccines would keep the virus under control.

Nesburn began by infecting the eyes of rabbits with a strain of herpes simplex 1. Like humans infected with the virus, rabbits can develop recurrent eye disease. Nesburn next gave each animal an injection of the experimental vaccine. He found that the vaccine reduced the incidence of active infection by 50 percent.

The results may pave the way for trials of a similar herpes vaccine in humans, Nesburn says.
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Title Annotation:Herpes simplex type I infection can scar cornea if it gets into the eye
Author:Fackelmann, Kathy A.
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 8, 1993
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