They make the buttons look like freckles. They arrive strong and painful, and always when you least expect it, it seems. But you may have seen your last one.
A study of the herpes simplex virus (HSV1) by the Duke University Medical Center explained why and how it could remain dormant and incurable for years, and then be excited to cause sore in the same place on the mouth where it had started.
Researchers discovered that the latent virus emitted genetic material called micro-RNA, which blocks the “switch”, so to speak. But when a trigger such as a fever or exposure to the sun produces opposing messenger RNAs, they overwhelm the microRNA, forcing replication of the virus and, ultimately, cold sores.
This discovery is likely to lead to drugs which activate HSV1 (it must be active to be able to be treated), then definitively stopped.
“In principle, you can activate and then kill all the virus in a patient, ”Bryan Cullen, the study manager, told AFP. “It would completely cure a person, and you would never have another cold sore.”