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Unexpected Bottleneck Identified in Spread of Herpes Simplex Virus

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New research suggests that just one or two individual herpes virus particles attack a skin cell in the first stage of an outbreak, resulting in a bottleneck in which the infection may be vulnerable to medical treatment.

Unlike most viruses that spread to new cells by bombarding them with millions of particles, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) -- a virus that causes cold sores and genital lesions -- requires just one or two viral particles to infect a skin cell in the first stage of cold sore formation, Princeton University researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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