Investigation is on presently for an effective herpes vaccine and there is a general consensus that something should be available in 3-5 years. But these vaccines will be limited in function as in they will prevent infection in new patients. Those with the herpes simplex virus already residing in their bodies will probably not benefit.
There have been attempts to make vaccines which will prevent the HSV occurrence, but with not much success unfortunately. GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals started a trial in November 2002 in this direction and hopefully, we should see some progress in the years to come.
Isoniplex (Isoprinosine) has been approved for use in HSV infections in about 56 countries due to its antiviral action and its ability to stimulate the body’s immune response. In the United States, Isoniplex is currently under investigation and under trial for HSV primary and recurrent cases. There may not be any cure as of now but there are drugs that help reduce the frequency and the duration of an outbreak and your doctor would be able to give you a fairly good idea about your options.
You natural healing process will be aided by the fact that the area is kept clean and dry during an outbreak. Warm showers are recommended to clean the infected area, then gently towel dried or with a hair dryer on a low or cool setting. Avoid tight-fitting undergarments to prevent chaffing. Creams and lotions may only irritate so preferably avoid using any of these. But, at the end of the day it is a healthy immune system that is important in controlling the virus along with proper nutrition, exercise and rest.
Alternative solutions are being discussed today in which are enumerated two control methods: immunotherapy and antiviral therapy. Antiviral therapy is the development of drugs that can identify the cells that harbor the virus and distinguish them from the others. The drugs have to work in such a way that they destroy the virus completely, without leaving fragments or producing mutants that may resurface later inside infected cells. Basically what is being asked is that the antiviral agents must be lethal to viruses only and must be non-toxic to body cells. Immunotherapy deals with developing agents that help fight the virus naturally by stimulating the body’s immune response system. Some substances available currently can activate specialized white blood cells.
The amino acid lysine has been found to control herpes and researchers have found that if free form lysine is added to a diet high in lysine and low in arginine, it appears to be useful. Viral replication increased in tissue culture studies when the amino acid ratio of arginine to lysine favors arginine. A higher ratio of lysine to arginine will suppress the viral replication and inhibit the cytopathogenicity of the herpes simplex virus. L-Lysine is seen to be an effective agent for reducing the occurrence, severity and healing time for HSV infection that reoccurs.
Food items that have more lysine than arginine are fish, chicken, beef, lamb, milk, cheese, beans, brewer’s yeast and bean sprouts. Peas, gelatin, chocolate, carob, coconut, oats, whole-wheat, white flour, peanuts, soybeans and wheat germ are known to have more arginine than lysine.