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Study Finds Genital Herpes Vaccine Ineffective in Women

Posted Oct 03 2010 7:40am

An experimental vaccine intended to prevent genital herpes disease in women, although generally safe and well-tolerated, proved ineffective when tested in the recently concluded clinical study known as the Herpevac Trial for Women.

The Phase 3 trial, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Biologicals, based in Belgium, with support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, began in 2002. A total of 8,323 women aged 18-30 years participated in the trial at 50 sites in the United States and Canada. At the time of their enrollment, the study participants were free of the two types of herpes simplex viruses (HSV), HSV-1 and HSV-2.

Participants in the Herpevac trial were randomly divided into two groups. One group received the candidate vaccine, containing HSV protein along with an adjuvant intended to boost immune responses. The second, control group received a version of Havrix, a licensed vaccine against hepatitis A. This study design gave all participants the potential opportunity to be protected against either genital herpes or hepatitis A. GSK developed the candidate vaccine and also manufactures Havrix.

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