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November 17, 1978

Herpes control measures: 1 no, 2 maybes

JAMA. 1978;240(21):2232. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290210014002

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In addition to the report on a potential new antiviral agent against herpesviruses, other reports on attempts to contain these viruses were much in evidence at the recent meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Atlanta.

Mary Guinan, MD, PhD, now with the federal Center for Disease Control, described a recent study on the use of ether for herpesvirus infections. It was prompted by a letter to a prestigious journal from a renowned scientist who casually stated that he had "cured" herpes labialis in his family with ether applications. Ether has been used as a topical treatment for herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections for many years (JAMA 224:132, 1973), but no controlled studies have ever been reported.

Guinan, then at the University of Utah, and colleagues first attacked the virus in vitro. One part HSV solution was exposed to one part full-strength ether in minimal essential media for periods