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Study reveals evidence of pressure inside herpes virus

Category: Herpes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 776,000 individuals in the U.S. are diagnosed with herpes every year. STD tests will show that roughly one out of six people between the ages of 14 and 49 have the herpes simplex virus. Recently, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University released evidence of internal pressure within the herpes virus.

The university report noted that it has long been theorized that there is pressure inside of the herpes virus as the result of packed genetic materials. The Carnegie Mellon team has proven that theory by measuring the amount of pressure within the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). In the past, measuring the internal pressure of viruses was only done with bacteriophages, or viruses that infect bacteria.

"Despite billions of years of evolution separating eukaryotic viruses and bacteriophages, the existence of an internal pressure capable of powering the ejection of DNA into a host cell has been conserved," said biophysicist Alex Evilevitch, Ph.D., lead author of the study. "This suggests that it is a key mechanism for viral infection across organisms and presents us with a new drug target for antiviral therapies."

The scientists noted that the internal pressure may help the virus to infect a host cell, and being able to measure that factor may help to develop a more effective herpes treatment. These findings are applicable to all forms of herpes, including the virus that causes chickenpox and the one that causes mononucleosis - commonly known as the kissing disease.

How to prevent herpes
Since there is currently no treatment that can cure herpes, it's important for individuals to get STD diagnosis tests to make sure they are not unknowingly spreading the infection. Herpes can sometimes be prevented by using condoms correctly and consistently, but the CDC stated that the only way to prevent an infection is to either abstain from sex or to remain in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with someone who is not a carrier.

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