Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have created a genetic mutant that doesn’t have gD, a particular protein found on the surface of Herpes. The new vaccine induces antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), which is characterized by antibodies attaching to a virus and marking it for destruction by cells of the immune system.
This vaccine has proven to be effective against Herpes Simplex 1(HSV1) and Herpes Simplex 2(HSV-2). Two common strains of lab mice were given the vaccine and then were introduced to HSV-2 intravaginally or on the skin. The vaccine had ensured complete protection from the virus. No virus could be detected in vaginal washes four days post-challenge and no virus could be found in the nerve tissue. The same experiments were done with HSV-1 and showed the efficacy of the vaccine. In another experiment, the vaccine was introduced into mice with compromised immune systems and produced no adverse health effects indicating the vaccine's overall safety.
The scientists also passively transferred blood serum from immunized mice to wild type mice to show that the transfusion protected wild-type mice, from the infection. William Jacobs, an HHMI investigator at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, states, "No one has ever shown for a skin disease that you can protect against infection with passive transfer," Jacobs also indicates, "We have a very promising new candidate for herpes, but this might also be a good candidate as a vaccine vector for other mucosal diseases, particularly HIV and tuberculosis."