Intranasal Genital Herpes Vaccine Patent Awarded

BlueWillow Biologics intranasal NanoVax herpes simplex virus vaccine awarded a patent

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A Michigan-based, biopharmaceutical company announced the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office issued patent number 10,206,996 for the development of an intranasal NanoVax® herpes simplex virus (HSV) vaccine. 

This patent issued on February 19, 2019, protects the use of BlueWillow Biologics’s unique NanoVax adjuvant platform in the development of a vaccine that provides protection against HSV-1 and HSV-2, the two herpes viruses that can cause genital herpes.

The intranasal NanoVax HSV vaccine has demonstrated safety and efficacy in both prophylactic and therapeutic animal models for genital herpes. 

In a prophylactic guinea pig study, the intranasal vaccine prevented genital herpes infection in 92 percent of animals vaccinated. 

And, therapeutic study animals previously infected with genital herpes who received the BlueWillow vaccine reduced recurrent lesions and viral shedding by more than 50 percent compared to animals who received no treatment. 

“Genital herpes is easily and often unknowingly transmitted between partners. The lifelong infection frequently causes psychological distress and negatively impacts the quality of life,” said Dr. Ali Fattom, Senior Vice President of Vaccine Research and Development, BlueWillow, in a press release.   

“After years of research in animals, we are moving closer to studies in humans where we expect results to validate the potential of this much-needed vaccine.” 

Most genital herpes vaccine candidates have failed or been abandoned in recent years, leaving no reliable therapeutic or preventive vaccine for the disease, said BlueWillow. 

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During 2018, two of the herpes vaccine candidates, Genocea Biosciences’s Gen-003 and Vical’s VCL-HB01, ‘failed’ to meet the primary end-point of their respective phase 2 studies.

These clinical study results indicate preventing and/or treating the herpes virus is much more complicated than originally thought. 

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And, about 85 percent of genital herpes cases are undiagnosed and unrecognized, although the carrier could be infectious to their partners. 

Genital herpes is common in the United States, found in about one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).     

Oral herpes is usually caused by HSV-1 and can result in cold sores or fever blisters on or around the mouth. However, genital herpes (HSV-2) is acquired by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease.

Herpes vaccine news

BlueWillow’s intranasal NanoVax platform elicits both mucosal and systemic immunity through its novel oil-in-water nanoemulsion (NE) adjuvant, offering a unique advantage to combat sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including genital herpes. 

The mucosal immunity elicited by intranasal NE vaccines provides critical protection against infections at the port of entry by which a pathogen enters the body.

The technology employs a novel oil-in-water nanoemulsion adjuvant that is effective when administered via intranasal or intramuscular vaccination and can elicit both mucosal and systemic immunity when applied intranasally.

There is no cure for herpes, but antiviral medications can prevent or shorten outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. There are 3 major medications in pill form commonly used to treat genital herpes symptoms:

  • acyclovir (Zovirax)
  • famciclovir (Famvir)
  • valacyclovir (Valtrex)

These medications can shorten a herpes outbreak by a day or two, provided you take them within 24 hours of the first signs of an outbreak. Taken daily, these drugs can also reduce the number of recurrences and decrease viral shedding. 

These medications are available at most pharmacies, and co-pay coupons can easily be found at Discounts. 

The CDC says if you have additional questions about how herpes is spread, treated, and prevented, discuss your concerns with a healthcare provider.

BlueWillow Biologics is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, focused on developing and commercializing vaccines using its patented NanoVax® technology platform. The company was originally founded as NanoBio Corporation, a spin-off from the Center for Biologic Nanotechnology at the University of Michigan,