top of page
  • Writer's pictureSinead Mackintosh


Over 3.7 billion people suffer from cold sores/fever blisters, which are caused by herpes simplex 1 virus (HSV-1). Herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2) is the more sinister herpes that is often associated with sexually transmitted diseases. Both, unfortunately, are incurable. Once you contract the virus, it sets up home in your nervous system and can lay dormant for years. People generally tend to treat the outbreak with antivirals, home remedies, etc. but the virus can always rear its ugly head when your immune system is compromised due to illness, stress, and even late nights.

Enter science! Scientists have been trying to solve this problem for decades, and now with the help of our new BFF CRISPR, we are closer than ever to defeating the virus. The problem with curing herpes is the virus has reservoirs that evade antiviral medication. But, by using CRISPR, the viral DNA can be edited and “reformatted” to stop viral replication! Researchers found that when the virus is replicating, its DNA is more vulnerable to CRISPR than it usually is, and so that is the new plan of attack! The DNA is more exposed during replication because the DNA unravels itself, and its protective proteins (called histones) are removed, thus creating the perfect opportunity for treatment. Scientists are actually calling this phenomenon herpes’ “Achilles heel.”

However, like most of science, medicine, and life, it’s never that straightforward. The trick is trying to get CRISPR into a human nervous system safely and effectively so that it can do its job! At the moment, this conundrum is holding the research back, but hopefully, in the near future, there will be a method and clinical trials!

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page