Herpesvirus study leads to discovery of broad-spectrum antiviral

Two-thirds of the world's population are infected with HSV-1 and roughly 500 million have HSV-2, according to the World Health Organization.
By Amy Wallace  |  Aug. 15, 2017 at 4:00 PM
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Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A study in mice by the National Institutes of Health has uncovered a potential broad-spectrum antiviral that may be effective against herpesvirus.

Two-thirds of the world's population are infected with HSV-1 and roughly 500 million have HSV-2, according to the World Health Organization.

When a person is infected with the herpes simplex virus, or HSV, the virus can persist in the body in a latent form, which can reactivate, causing recurrent infection.

HSV can cause a variety of diseases, including oral cold sores, genital lesions, serious eye conditions and blindness.

Recurrent HSV can lead to ocular HSV infections causing corneal scarring, and neonatal infections can lead to developmental delays, neurological issues and death. People infected with HSV are also at an increased risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV.

Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH unexpectedly discovered that the EZH2/1 nucleosome could suppress viral infection in mice they were studying to see how the nucleosome regulated HSV.

The study showed that EZH2/1 inhibitors not only suppress HSV infection, but also the spread and reactivation of the virus in mice, human cytomegalovirus, adenovirus and Zika virus infections in cell cultures.

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