A ‘Hint of Good News’ for Genital Herpes Vaccine

GEN-003 a therapeutic bivalent vaccine candidate for genital herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2)

couple in love train coming

On October 31, 2018, Genocea Biosciences, Inc. reported its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018.

Which were very impressive!   

But, the most important information to millions of genital herpes sufferers shared during this wall-street analyst call was a ‘hint’ of some potentially good news regarding the GEN-003 herpes vaccine candidate. 

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Genocea’s management said, ‘Genocea is engaged in discussions with potential partners to continue the development of GEN-003 following multiple, successful Phase 2 trials.’ 

‘Management is still optimistic that they'll be able to find a good home for the vaccine.’

GEN-003 is therapeutic bivalent vaccine candidate for genital herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). 

During July 2018, clinical research reported GEN-003 was clinically effective at doses of 60 µg/50 µg and 60 µg /75 µg for reducing viral shedding for up to 1 year in adults with symptomatic genital herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) infection. 

Additionally, these investigators saw a reduction in lesion rates following administration of GEN-003, at varying doses. 

For this study, the investigators compared each dose in regard to the participants’ associated rates of viral shedding at baseline and followed the 3-dose treatment regimen.

At baseline, the viral shedding rates were 22.2 percent for placebo, and between 13.6 percent and 27.1 percent for the active doses.

“GEN-003 reduced viral shedding for up to 12 months following completion of a 3-dose series, with the 60/50 and 60/75 doses representing the most promising combinations for further evaluation based on viral shedding and overall safety assessment,” reported these researchers. 

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), genital herpes is widespread throughout the USA. 

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that any sexually active person can get. Most people with the virus don’t have symptoms. Even without signs of the disease, herpes can still be spread to sex partners. 

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Genital herpes is caused by two types of viruses. The viruses are called herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). 

Oral herpes is usually caused by HSV-1 and can result in cold sores or fever blisters on or around the mouth. Most people with oral herpes were infected during childhood or young adulthood from non-sexual contact with saliva.

But, they are still at risk of acquiring herpes simplex virus type 2. 

HSV-2 infection is almost exclusively sexually transmitted and is lifelong and incurable. 

Genital herpes caused by HSV-2 is a global issue, and an estimated 417 million people worldwide were living with the infection in 2012, says the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Prevalence of HSV-2 infection in the Americas is high, at 14.4 percent. 

Over 24 million people in the United States are infected with HSV-2 and there are 776,000 new infections each year, says the CDC. 

More women (267m) are infected with HSV-2 than men (150m) in 2012. This is because sexual transmission of HSV is more efficient from men to women than from women to men, says the WHO. 

If a woman is pregnant and has genital herpes, it is very important to tell a doctor. There is some research that suggests that genital herpes infection may lead to miscarriage, or could lead to an early delivery. 

Herpes infection can be passed from you to your unborn child before birth, but is more commonly passed during delivery, says the CDC. 

Antivirals, such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir are the most effective medications available for people infected with HSV. 

These medications can help reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms. 

But, these antivirals cannot cure the HSV-2 infection.

Genocea Biosciences, Inc., is a biopharmaceutical company, engages in developing T cell-directed vaccines and immunotherapies to treat infectious diseases and cancer.