Herpes Breakthrough: Development in Treatment Of Ocular Herpes

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc, of Tustin, CA has announced what it describes as “promising” pre-clinical data in respect of its PS-targeting antibodies, PGN632 and PGN635 for the treatment of ocular herpes infections and age-related macular disease respectively.

In modeling using rabbits, PGN632 was found to be at least as effective as a current therapy in the treatment of herpes infection of the eye, with no sign of toxicity. Cyril Empig, associate director at Peregrine said: “For the first time antibodies have been tested with HSV-1 in a proper animal model.”

“We are very happy to see the high level of interest in this procedure and we will continue our collaboration to further assess PGN632 in this and also with other diseases caused by oral and genital herpes.”

National Eye Institute stated that herpes simplex keratitis is a main cause of corneal disease in the United States with statistics of 47,000 cases of Herpes Simplex Virus eye infection that was reported yearly.

Herpes and Other Stds: Controversial approval for HIV preventive drug

Unpleasant and often dangerous side-effects of drugs used in the treatment of serious diseases are well-documented. Patients and clinicians often have the tremendously difficult task of weighing the side-effects of a drug against its efficiency before deciding whether or not to pursue a course of treatment.

So would you recommend prescribing a drug whose known side-effects include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, appetite loss, diarrhea, liver, and kidney toxicity to a patient who was perfectly healthy?

That is the controversial decision taken by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the case of the HIV drug Truvada. The drug, already approved for the treatment of AIDS in conjunction with other drugs, does not rid the body of HIV but rather inhibits its replication in the body. Now the FDA has approved the drug as a preventive measure for uninfected men who have sex with men, for an uninfected person whose sexual partner is HIV positive and (most controversially) for individuals who engage in “risky sexual behavior” which could result in HIV infection.

The 22-strong FDA committee heard representations from over 40 healthcare professionals, AIDS advocates, and patients, most of whom advised strongly against the drug’s approval. But after assessing data from studies conducted inBotswanaandKenya, they came down on the side of approval, though not unanimously.

Supporters of the decision included Kirk Myers, CEO of Abounding Prosperity Inc and himself HIV-positive, who said: “People should be given the information to make a wise desition.”

And Robert Elliott, a registered nurse, stated: “There is no doubt that, if people will use more drugs, condom use and other measures to prevent HIV infection might decrease.”

Michael Weinstein, president and founder of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation described Truvada’s approval as a preventive measure a “reckless act”.

AIDS activist said: “To prescribe a drug so powerful with such serious side-effects and give to those that are healthy is a crime.” adding that giving the drug approval was “asking for an invitation to lawsuits.”

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