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Predicting the emergence of drug-resistant HSV-2: new predictions
  • Published Date:
    Mar 24 2003
  • Publisher's site:
  • Source:
    BMC Infect Dis. 2003; 3:1.
Filetype[PDF-289.12 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    BMC Infect Dis
  • Description:

    Mathematical models can be used to predict the emergence and transmission of antiviral resistance. Previously it has been predicted that high usage of antivirals (in immunocompetent populations) to treat Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2) would only lead to fairly low levels of antiviral resistance. The HSV-2 predictions were based upon the assumption that drug-resistant strains of HSV-2 would be less infectious than drug-sensitive strains but that the drug-resistant strains would not be impaired in their ability to reactivate. Recent data suggest that some drug-resistant strains of HSV-2 are likely to be impaired in their ability to reactivate. Objectives: (1) To predict the effect of a high usage of antivirals on the prevalence of drug-resistant HSV-2 under the assumption that drug-resistant strains will be less infectious than drug-sensitive strains of HSV-2 and also have an impaired ability to reactivate. (2) To compare predictions with previous published predictions.


    We generated theoretical drug-resistant HSV-2 strains that were attenuated (in comparison with drug-sensitive strains) in both infectivity and ability to reactivate. We then used a transmission model to predict the emergence and transmission of drug-resistant HSV-2 in the immunocompetent population assuming a high usage of antivirals.


    Our predictions are an order of magnitude lower than previous predictions; we predict that even after 25 years of high antiviral usage only 5 out of 10,000 immunocompetent individuals will be shedding drug-resistant virus. Furthermore, after 25 years, 52 cases of HSV-2 would have been prevented for each prevalent case of drug-resistant HSV-2.


    The predicted levels of drug-resistant HSV-2 for the immunocompetent population are so low that it seems unlikely that cases of drug-resistant HSV-2 will be detected.

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