Dear Blog Followers,
A few of you have taken the time to create a petition to have me speak with members of the U.S. Congress about the small and simple steps required to advance live-attenuated HSV-1 and HSV-2 vaccines to clinical trials in the U.S. Scientifically, what needs to be done is quite simple and easily doable for less than what the National Institutes of Health typically invests in a single R01 grant.
So, the question is, “Why are we not acting upon this potentially life-saving technology?” I think the real answer is because most people do not appreciate (1) the depth of human suffering caused by genital herpes and other herpetic diseases, and do not appreciate (2) that the technology of a live-attenuated HSV-2 vaccine capable of controlling and stopping the spread of herpes already exists. Can we know if this vaccine will work without testing it in human clinical trials? Of course not. But that is not the issue. The issue is, “Why aren’t we testing this potentially life-saving technology ASAP?”
A link to the petition is below. If you believe this important, please take a moment and sign it.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
– Bill Halford
P.S. For those who doubt that preventing herpes could save lives, I note that in too many cases, herpes and the associated pain drives people to suicide. However, aside from this, the following note from a sufferer long ago help me better understand why a herpes vaccine is important.
“I recently read an online article about your research into a potential vaccine against the herpes virus. I wanted to thank you for your efforts in this field and, beg you to continue. Society seems to reflexively associate the virus with promiscuity. But, as I am sure you are already aware, this is not always true. Some, after their marriage ended as a result of the rigors of graduate school, find out that their wife carried the virus, but never told them. Such news can be paralyzing. And it’s not just the fear that no one will ever want them. That is a selfish fear. It is the fear that one could inflict that same feeling of shame and anger in another; which, in turn, prevents them from entertaining the notion of dating and possibly marrying again.
The virus may not be life threatening, but the emotional effects are nevertheless malignant. It is not always secreted away in some back alley or brothel. Sometimes it teaches Sunday school and gives money to charities. Sometimes it practices a profession and leads a very healthy lifestyle. And while its host participates in these activities, it authors silent words of despair and loneliness. It wages war against the best days and amplifies the worst. I ask of you two things: first, that you would keep the origin of this email absolutely confidential; and secondly, that you not give up in your pursuit for a vaccine. It does matter. It is important. And it could very well save lives, in every possible sense of the word.”