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Trial herpes vaccine misses mark for protection in young women

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An experimental herpes vaccine protected young women against only one of the two types of the sexually transmitted virus, dashing hopes for widespread use of the treatment, researchers reported in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

For reasons that aren’t clear, the vaccine protected against herpes simplex virus type 1, known as HSV1, but not type 2, known as HSV2, the study of more than 8,000 women aged 18 to 30 found.

“I think this is the end of the vaccine,” said coauthor Dr. Peter A. Leone, an infectious disease specialist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “It would be difficult to imagine marketing a vaccine that would only work against HSV1.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six Americans ages 14 to 49 is infected with HSV2. Nearly 60 percent of adults in the U.S. are infected with HSV1, federal health figures show.

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