ST. LOUIS, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A herpes vaccine only protected against one type of herpes virus, and hopes have ended for now that the vaccine can prevent the disease, U.S. researchers say.
Lead author Dr. Robert Belshe, director of the Saint Louis University Center for Vaccine Development, said the vaccine was partially effective at preventing herpes simplex virus type 1, but did not protect women from herpes simplex virus type 2.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the experimental vaccine was 58 percent effective at preventing genital herpes from herpes simplex virus type 1, but did not show protection against herpes simplex virus type 2.
Both herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2 are members of the herpes virus family and typically, herpes simplex virus type 2 causes lesions and blisters in the genital area.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 generally causes sores in the mouth and lips, although it increasingly has been found to cause genital disease, Belshe explained
There currently is no cure or approved vaccine to prevent genital herpes infection, which affects about 25 percent of women in the United States and is one of the most common communicable diseases and, once inside the body, remains there permanently, Belshe said.
"There is some very good news in our findings," Belshe said in a statement. "We were partially successful against half of the equation -- protecting women from genital disease caused by herpes simplex virus type 1."