Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is an infectious disease that lasts forever if you get it. Like chicken pox, it is a virus that an extremely significant population of the world (two thirds of the world are infected with HSV1) gets at some point in their life. Again, like chickenpox, when you are initially infected with the virus that causes HSV, you normally get symptoms (like cold sores, lesions, serious eye conditions). However, after the initial symptoms subside, you are still infected with the virus, it just remains dormant in your body- meaning you still have the virus in your body, but you show no symptoms of it.
HSV has been much of a mystery to scientists since its’ discovery, however, there has been recent progress by NIH and Princeton scientists with this virus. They have identified a new HCF-1 protein complex that plays an additional role in initiating viral infection and reactivation. They found that- in mice- they could reactivate latent HSV by using compounds of these HCF-1 protein complexes. This is important because this research means that we can potentially reveal additional targets for the development of new therapeutics. In other words, with these new and continuing discoveries, we can hopefully minimize the spread of not only HSV itself, but also figure out better ways to keep the virus dormant (so that symptoms don’t ever occur if you are infected) since that would also help decrease the spread of the virus.