Herpes Vaccines- What Else Is Out There?

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Since Genocea first reported data on GEN-003 (which would make it the first successful herpes vaccine ever) earlier this year, there has been massive interest in development.

This past September, a new player entered the field—Rational Vaccines (Rvx), which was founded by immunologist Dr. William Halford. RVx's Theravax claimed to have dramatically reduced genital outbreaks in 20 patients. Shortly thereafter, I interviewed Dr. Halford, to try and get additional information on Theravax.

You can find a table that compares the two vaccines here

The table below summarizes the other candidates that are (or were) in the pipeline. 

Impressions:

  • Glaxo's (GSK) synthetic vaccine went down in flames, something which Dr. Halford does not find the least bit surprising (1).
  • Sanofi, a major player in the vaccine world, has several candidates - all of which are too early in the development process to evaluate at this time.
  • Admedus' DNA vaccine, which is being developed in Australia is one I would keep my eyes on.
  • Agenus' HerpV peptide vaccine is looking like it may join Glaxo's synthetic construct in the pile of biological detritus.

  • GenVec's GV2207 and Vical's GV2207 both perform well in protecting mice and/or guinea pigs against challenge with live herpes. Although animal models of herpes are quite good (predictive of human efficacy), these have a long way to go.

  • There is little clinical information about Albert Einstein's live attenuated vaccine.

Note:

(1) Dr Halford on synthetic vs. attenuated live virus vaccines:  "Live virus vaccines always work because they perfectly mimic the natural pathogen.  Synthetic vaccines have an abysmal track record because they were based on a very naive premise put forward in the 1970s about how viral vaccines should (in the minds of uninformed men) work."