RVx Website Goes Live

Colour1_Rational Vaccine (60percent)

This has been about six months in the making, and so I am happy to finally declare that RVx’s website is now live (http://rationalvaccines.com/).  The company’s facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/rationalvaccines/.   There are about 30 pages of content on the RVx website and links to the relevant literature that, for the first time ever, offer what I would consider a (1) relatively succinct but (2) thorough and accurate synopsis of where the field of herpes diagnosis, treatment / management, and prevention currently stands.

For all the people who have followed this blog, think back across the past 20 years and ask yourself one simple question:

How much did I learn about the condition of HSV infection vs herpetic disease and the diagnostic / treatment / prevention options for herpes from the following so-called experts who proposed they were going to cure the disease:

  1.  Glaxo Smith Kline who proposed the Herpevac vaccine;
  2.   Sanofi-Pasteur who proposed the ACAM-529 vaccine;
  3.   Biovex who proposed the Immunovex vaccine;
  4.   Agenus who proposed the HerpV vaccine;
  5.   Admedus/Corridon who proposed a HSV-2 subunit vaccine;
  6.   Vical who proposed a HSV-2 subunit vaccine; and
  7.   Genocea who proposed the GEN-003 vaccine?

All of these companies supposedly had the expertise necessary to deliver better herpes vaccines, but none of them attempted to address the glaring problems that (1) the herpes diagnostic methods being used by doctors were problematic; (2) the information patients and doctors were working with was two decades out of date; and (3) the strategies that were the foundation of these companies’ so-called “promising herpes vaccines” all suffered from serious flaws that made it likely that this latest “promising” HSV-2 vaccine concept would fail again, like its predecessors which date back to 1986 (i.e, the year I graduated high school).

I note that 1.5 billion people have been infected with HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 since I graduated high school, so if I sound skeptical about HSV-2 subunit vaccines, in particular, this is not just me being old and bitter.   It’s based on the 30-year-track record of HSV-2 subunit vaccines that have been continually in the process of failing since they were first proposed in 1983.

I hope that what comes across on RVx’s website is that what is being offered is something different.  This is the first company to form around 20 years of work from a HSV expert with 50+ publications in the space to validate the views and approaches offered by the company.

I hope that the content of the website conveys that the solutions RVx will be offering are not the topic-du-jour nor are they based on some slick, science-fiction approach.  These solutions are plain and extraordinarily simple, as are all bona fide solutions in science.  The real solution to any scientific problem almost always proves to be extraordinarily elegant in its simplicity and tends to evoke two responses from people:  (1) ‘Well, of course.  This is obvious.” and (2) “It is so simple, anyone could have figured this out.”

So, it is with the solutions offered on the RVx website in the realm of better herpes vaccines, better herpes diagnostics, and a place to deposit accurate and up-to-date information about what we do, and do not, know about herpes.   Is this information boring and self-evident?  For sure.  However, I do note one major advantage………RVx’s vaccines and diagnostic tests work about 100x better than all of the garbage that has come before.  In biology, a 100-fold difference is what most people simply consider “Right” versus “Wrong.”

So, let’s take this debate to the next level.  Over 100 million people are suffering with a chronic disease called “recurrent herpes,” over 1 million people are newly infected with HSV-1 and HSV-2 every week, and the past “solutions” offered by the “inseparable trio” of Big Pharma, the NIH, and the FDA for the past 30 years have not changed the equation one iota.  So, why should we keep listening to the people who have been “wrong” for the past 30 years?  That is, 1.5 billion people have been newly infected with HSV-1 and HSV-2 during the time that the inseparable trio have ignored the self-evident possibility that a live-and-appropriately-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine might be the ONLY TREATMENT MODALITY with the potential to stop the spread of herpes.  Yet, this is precisely the one treatment option that Big Pharma, the NIH, and the FDA have left unstudied for the past 30 years.

Not only have live HSV-2 vaccines not be carefully evaluated, but my experience is that the majority of vaccine scientists (with the backing of the inseparable trio) have been misled to believe that we are simply incapable in the 21st century of making a live HSV-2 vaccine that is safe enough to test in people.  The scientific evidence tells a radically different story (i.e., it is quite possible to make a HSV-2 vaccine that is uber-safe), but this has not swayed the outdated views of the inseparable trio.   Yes, we did succeed in advancing live-and-appropriately attenuated viral vaccines in the 1800s  and the 1900s, but in the 2000s (with radically better technology), it is now simply impossible to implement this tried-and-true strategy without unleashing plagues of locusts, the zombie apocalypse, and dogs and cats living together upon a world that has never seen such horrors.

When the people in charge are screwing things up this badly, that is typically the cue that it is time to fire the current leaders and bring in new leadership.

Please take a look at the herpes-free future RVx is offering the world, consider the past 10 years of publications from the Halford Lab (and now Carr lab at OUHSC) that say that this live HSV-2 (or HSV-1) vaccine works up to 100-fold better than the HSV subunit vaccine garbage of the past 30 years, and ask yourself one simple question:

If a live-and-appropriately-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine holds the potential for eradicating all herpetic diseases and the general strategy has a batting average of 1000 (i.e.,  this type of live viral vaccine has never failed in the history of medicine), then wouldn’t it seem kind of silly to not at least explore that possibility?

The plain and simple truth is that this is exactly what has been happening since I graduated high school.  The herpes community, based on no specific evidence and more of just “a gut feeling,” has concluded that it would be “too dangerous” to test a live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine in a human clinical trial and so the possibility has been ignored, dismissed, and even demonized over the past 30 years.  The decision to not pursue this approach explains precisely why every single herpes sufferer in the world under the age of 30 who is reading this blog post actually has herpes.  Had we developed a live HSV-2 vaccine in 1984, when the first one was proposed (i.e., a HSV-2 tk-mutant virus), then herpes would most likely have become a vaccine-preventable disease by the year 2000.

Better late than never.

My advice…….let’s quit trusting the losers who have demonized live HSV-2 vaccines for the past 30 years and allowed another 1.5 billion people to be newly infected whilst we have done little more than simply sit on our hands and hope that the next time Moses returns from mountain, he will not only bring back the 10 commandments, but maybe God will give him the seed stock for an effective herpes vaccine.

The time to act is now.  Enough with the abject ignorance and stupidity.  Does a live-attenuated HSV-2 entail risks? Of course…..as does walking out the front door of your house every morning.  Over 50 million people will contract new HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections in 2016.  Relative to the risk of the current herpes epidemic, the risks of small Phase I clinical trials of a live-and-appropriately-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine in humans simply pales in comparison to the certainty that another million people will be infected with wild-type HSV-1 or HSV-2 this week. HSV-2 subunit vaccines have been failing for 30 years.  I believe that it is time to try something new.

Let’s start testing real solutions with the real potential to eradicate herpes and ensure that our children and grandchildren don’t ever have to know what it means to wear the “Scarlet H,” that continues to derail the lives of far too many people.

–  Bill H.

16 thoughts on “RVx Website Goes Live

  1. Rylee says:

    Way to go and I’m glad there is no blah blah here and that you are sincere in your quest to stop this disease that emotionally and physically cripples many!

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    • Herpes Vaccine Research says:

      Hi Rylee,

      Yes, let me reiterate that you are reading the tea leaves in precisely the manner I intended. On October 13, 2016, the conversation will fundamentally change from “Blah Blah Blah” (theoretical) to hard, substantive facts and scientific data that will, beyond a reasonable doubt, highlight that we can in fact therapeutically vaccinate against HSV-1 or HSV-2 genital herpes and dial back herpes disease symptoms in a way that is an unmistakable improvement, and which is vastly superior to the marginally effective antiviral drugs (e.g., valacyclovir) that have been the “standard of medical care” for treating genital herpes in the USA for the past 20 years.

      On October 13, the way the world looks at treating and preventing genital herpes will fundamentally change.

      Buckle up!

      – Bill H.

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      • Rylee says:

        A lot of people are optimistic that us that are already suffering from HSV 2 will be helped. I’ve been told the vaccince will be more promising for those uninfected. While this is certainly half the battle I hope the theraputic will drastically reduce these debilating symptoms I experience daily. I think if I could gt the physical symptoms under control and not be “reminded” daily that “something is wrong”, I would be better mentally. You and your work are certainly in my prayers each day.

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  2. J says:

    Hello Bill, I would like to sign up on the RVx’s website for trials, as your work is super-exciting, but I’m a bit concerned about that amount of personal information going over the internet as there was no indication in my browser that the site is secure. Is there another method for signing up please? Thanks!

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    • Herpes Vaccine Research says:

      Hi TVEC,

      HSV-2 encodes 75 proteins. The point I am making, to which you refer, is that when a human being makes an antibody response to HSV-2, it may be directed against 30 of those 75 HSV-2 proteins. This “antigen specificity” of a population of human antibodies has nothing to do with the isotype of antibody being produced. Early in the antibody response to a virus, like HSV-2, one might expect B-cells to produce virus-specific antibodies of the IgM isotype. If one can detect “HSV-2-specific IgM antibodies” in a patient’s blood, that would for a clinical immunologist or doctor mean that the person was in the midst of a primary HSV-2 infection and had just been infected with HSV-2 within the last 4 to 8 weeks. Once the immune response to HSV-2 (or any virus) matures, the B-cells become memory cells and switch to producing IgG isotype antibody. As the IgG antibody response matures, a newly HSV-infected person will cease to produce IgM antibodies against HSV. Hence, IgM antibodies are a short-lived species that are only found in patient’s blood within the first 2 to 8 weeks of a viral infection. IgM vs IgG makes no difference in terms of the “antigenic breadth” of the antibody response, regarding how many different HSV-2 proteins are being targeted by those antibodies.

      RVx would like to offer an IgM-based ABVIC test to confirm new HSV-1 or HSV-2 infections, but we are not there yet. This will require clinical trials of the ABVIC test. Therefore, the initial offering of the ABVIC test will only test for IgG antibodies to HSV-1 and/or HSV-2, which a person may have 4 weeks, 4 months, 4 years, or 4 decades after contracting HSV-1 or HSV-2.

      – Bill H.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Bill,
    Not only is the information fantastic, but the site design looks great as well!
    Can you tell us if an adjuvant is going to be used and what is will be? There’s always controversy around that.
    Site Suggestion: Place a timeline (similar to a FedEx or UPS delivery page) for when a vaccine will be available. Something like this: “Development –> Clinical Trial (Phase 1) –> Clinical Trial (Phase 2) –> Clinical Trial (Phase 3) –> FDA Approval –> Mass Production –> Available” and just highlight where we are at in each step. Everyone always asks for a timeline which can’t really be given because these steps can take various amounts of time, but at least people can see where we are at quickly. Maybe you could do an “estimated delivery” date as a best guess too… “2022”
    If you make this vaccine available outside of the U.S., will that be posted on the site as well? I’m sure many of us would be willing to take a “VAC”ation…. 🙂

    Hope you are well!

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  4. optimistic says:

    Thanks Bill for the wonderfull work, Hats off to you!! If you wanted can you please let us know when the first patient for any of the vaccine will be called off, As I can assume that is not certain yet but any approximation… 2-3 months , 6 months, 1 year & so on & where people need to fly to get that….
    Also I would like to request all the members here to spread the news of go live of RVX website & I m doing that as well

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  5. Jim says:

    I think many of us will be extremely pleased to note Dr. Halford’s coverage of the neuropathic complications from HSV, something which we’ve all been hard-pressed to find on almost any website or medical publication. The downloadable documents for doctors and patients are extremely informative and authoritative, but furthermore the page at http://rationalvaccines.com/herpes-induced-neuralgia is straight to the point and is no-nonsense. In case anyone hasn’t seen it, it comprises a short text on what many of us have been trying to tell our doctors and have been laughed at as a consequence…

    “… In 2016, most doctors continue to tell their patients that their genital herpes-associated pain is psychosomatic in nature.

    This is one example of a simple truth; scientific knowledge of the biology of latent HSV infections has progressed, but doctors’ understanding of HSV’s in vivo biology and herpetic disease has not changed in 25 years. Too many doctors are working with outdated information that only partially aligns with the actual symptoms and concerns of patients who suffer with recurrent herpes.”

    Until now, the only texts that many of us have previously enountered which even attempt to accept the possible existence of post-herpetic neuralgia are those within some of the poorly-informed regurgitated text book-style sources of information, which often weakly convey words along the lines of “… anecdotal information suggests that PHN from herpes simplex may be more widespread than is appreciated by patients and doctors”. Until now, that is the best we’ve had, though with claims as feeble and as unsubstantiated as that, no wonder many of us have got nowhere with the medical profession in conveying our claims of PHN.

    In terms of the obstacles ahead, I can envisage certain healthcare professionals questioning the research and that a sudden acceptance of the information provided in Dr. Halford’s website may not necessarily take place without a battle. We can see from replies such as those on medical health forums, that the professionals involved in contributing to them, almost systematically refute any claims that herpes is causative in patients’ pain and other symptoms.

    By way of example of the profession’s current outdated thinking, take a relatively recent comment on the Herpes ‘Honeycomb’ website, in which a contributor had noted Dr. Halford’s research suggesting that long-term anti-viral use such as valacyclovir, would reduce the level of effectiveness of one’s own immunity. The claim was backed up by a research paper too, which demonstrated a reduction in antibodies. When the contributor from the Honeycomb website passed this information on to Terri Warren at Westover Heights Clinic, she refuted it and her apparent response was “I didn’t know Dr. Halford saw any patients”. So this is an example of the kind of professional ignorance that must be overcome. The availability of this new website will surely represent the beginning of the future of HSV treatment, regardless of how difficult that path ahead will be. Well done Dr. Halford. Jim.

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    • Herpes Vaccine Research says:

      Hi Jim,

      As is stated on the RVx website, nearly all medical professionals want to serve their patients to the best of their ability. However, doctors and nurses cannot reasonably be expected to know what they have not been told. The blame should not be laid at the feet of medical professionals, as it is not their responsibility to make and communicate scientific discoveries. The blame should squarely be laid at the feet of herpes researchers and the National Institutes of Health, who in the space of virology have allowed the research they fund to be far more concerned with molecular biology than human health.

      At the end of the day, the goal should not be to look back and cry over spilled milk. Rather the goal should be to look forward and do better. Dr. Halford has been talking with patients (hundreds of them) for the past five years. It is this basic research, and going to the source, that has allowed me to recognize a simple truth: Any one patient with whom I speak could be batshit crazy and making up their herpes pain symptoms that sound just like post-herpetic neuralgia caused by VZV. However, it is kind of hard to believe that more than 50 herpes patients could, completely independently of one another, keep describing what sounds like post-herpetic neuralgia caused by VZV. Given that HSV lives in pain fibers of the peripheral nervous system, the underlying biology and what patients independently describe is well aligned. So, medical professionals should feel free to disregard my opinions in the short term. However, I am pretty confident that medical professionals will totally get it once they have had a year or two to sit with the facts. Imagine if a therapeutic HSV-2 vaccine made that pain totally disappear……that would sure provide a convincing bit of evidence that such neuropathic pain was driven by the HSV-2 virus and was not just a figment of the patient’s imagination.

      – Bill H.

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      • Jim says:

        I accept your points, Dr. Halford. Clearly it is paramount that the future of HSV treatment holds brighter hopes for sufferers than it has done before and irrespective of what has gone before. I think what many of us have found is that not only have we’ve reached an obstacle with our medical providers but it often seems that they don’t wish to consider the alternative hypothesis we’ve offered them, resulting from our own research. There are of course others who have helped their patients and have looked for alternative treatments, nevertheless.

        Certainly from my experience in Singapore, two doctors I met simply refused to consider the contents of the papers I showed them, confirming HSV complications in serious illness. A Professor of Neurology in Thailand was offended professionally, because I showed him the Munsat article on cauda equina syndrome, which implicates HSV in motor-related neural abnormalities, for which he had previously said was impossible because HSV affects only sensory function. In this context it is very difficult for patients. I’m sure this sorry situation will change for the better as a result of your work. I think we are gratified that a website which carries professional authority, offers confirmation of many of the symptoms we were previously told were in our minds. I can’t begin to convey what a relief that is. Jim

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      • Herpes Vaccine Research says:

        Thanks Jim. And please allow me to reiterate, RVx’s website is the beginning of this process, not the end. The key issue is that patients have never been given a chair “at the table” in determining which herpes treatments need to be pursued posthaste, and which are clearly lame and should be set to the side. About 100 million people live with significant herpes symptoms that recur at least once per year. If you guys want effective treatments, you are going to have to come off of the sidelines and demand better for yourselves. Yes, researchers are partly to blame. However, front and center are all of the herpes sufferers who are so embarrassed to speak up that noone in the world can hear their voices. Hence, the disease of recurrent herpes receives precisely this level of attention when the NIH and other funding agencies are deciding their funding priorities.

        RVx’s website represents a place to collect / distill what is known. RVx cannot eradicate a disease that affects billions of people, but we can serve as a catalyst for change. Real change will require herpes sufferers to come out of the shadows and demand something better. I am happy to do my part, but if herpes sufferers expect to sit by passively on the sidelines (as has been true for decades), then do not be surprised when 2050 arrives and there is still no herpes vaccine.

        Why did we develop a cure for AIDS? Because everyone wore a ribbon in the 1980s and 90s, and demanded nothing less.

        RVx is bringing the world the tools to do something better. It is time for herpes sufferers to let their congressman, senators, prime ministers, and health officials know that what happened over the past 30 years is B.S., and it is time to act and do something better. We will either succeed or fail together when it comes to eradicating herpes through the deployment of effective vaccines.

        – Bill H.

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  6. TVEC says:

    Hi Bill, the website looks great! One comment, when I filled out the form to get on the ABVIC waiting list, I got an email back saying that RVx had received my application for a Theravax trial… maybe there is a bug?

    PS when do you anticipate that the ABVIC will be offered? I thought I remember you saying that it would be available with the launch of the RVx website.

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  7. T says:

    Thank you for the site and all of the information it provides! Great stuff. Digesting it now, and looking forward to future correspondence that, in more delicate terms, confirms to us that “this shit works!”

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