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Regards to all our listeners!
I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Here is what's new this week in To Your Health, a consumer health-oriented podcast from NLM, that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.
A new visual representation, or an atomic atlas, of the complex structure of two herpes viruses recently was published for the first time in Science — and establishes a pathway for future antiviral research.
In separate studies, the atomic structure of two herpes simplex viruses are revealed for the first time. Specifically, the first study provides a comprehensive visualization of the biological structures of the herpes virus that causes cold sores, and the second study shows the herpes virus that causes genital herpes — both in heretofore unavailable detail.
The author of a news story that accompanies the studies in Science notes the visualizations reveal herpes viruses contain more than 3000 biological proteins, which suggests a complex atomic structure. The author explains the detailed visualizations of the complex two herpes viruses are possible because of new capacities to capture atomic structures at higher resolutions. The author explains in previous resolutions of herpes viruses (and we quote): 'it is difficult to identify proteins accurately and impossible to map their interactions precisely' (end of quote).
As the two authors of one of visualizations note, there are nine human herpes viruses. The authors write all herpes viruses (and we quote): 'can establish lifelong latent infection within our peripheral nervous system' (end of quote).
MedlinePlus.gov's herpes simplex health topic page explains herpes simplex is a common viral infection that is found in persons of all ages. For example, Type 1 herpes cold sores infect more than half of the population by the time Americans reach their 20s.
More importantly, the two authors of the visualization of the herpes virus that causes cold sores note the molecular interactions and atomic details within the virus' structure provides an unprecedented detailed atlas for researchers to search for antiviral targets.
The 12 authors of the second study add (and we quote): 'the atomic structure could guide rationale design of therapeutic agents for treating tumors and therapeutic strategies against (herpes viruses)' [end of quote].
Of course, it is premature to predict if a new atomic atlas of a herpes virus will lead to a new generation of drugs. However, the availability of a new atomic atlas of the herpes virus underscores the importance of basic science as an initial step to drug discovery as well as illustrates the benefits of better visualization tools.
Meanwhile, an introduction to herpes simplex (from the American Academy of Dermatology) is available within the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's herpes simplex health topic page.
The American Association for Clinical Chemistry provides information about tests for herpes in the 'diagnosis and tests' section of MedlinePlus.gov's herpes simplex health topic page.
Links to the latest journal research articles about herpes are available in the 'journal articles' section of MedlinePlus.gov's herpes simplex health topic page. Links to pertinent clinical trials that may be occurring in your area also are available in the 'clinical trials' section.
To find MedlinePlus.gov's herpes simplex health topic page, please type 'herpes' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'herpes simplex (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus.gov also contains health topic pages on cold sores and genital herpes.
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It was nice to be with you. Please join us here next week and here's to your health!