UCI News

UCI researchers develop vaccine that could prevent ocular herpes

Lbachir BenMohamed and Dr. Anthony Nesburn with The Gavin S. Herbert Eye Institute of UC Irvine's ophthalmology department have developed…

April 1, 2009

Lbachir BenMohamed and Dr. Anthony Nesburn with The Gavin S. Herbert Eye Institute of UC Irvine’s ophthalmology department have developed a promising vaccine to give long-term protection from the potentially blinding effects of ocular herpes stemming from the type 1 herpes simplex virus. About half a million Americans have ocular herpes, and while it often remains dormant, it can be activated by psychological, chemical or environmental stresses and infect the corneal region. Current drug therapies can treat it, but do not prevent future attacks. “Our goal is to attack the virus at the root of the disease,” says BenMohamed, a member of UCI’s Institute for Immunology. “While tests are proving the vaccine effective for eye herpes diseases, it also might help curb genital herpes diseases and, potentially, the AIDS epidemic.”