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April 1974

Dye-Photoinactivation and Herpes Simplex

Arch Dermatol. 1974;109(4):570. doi:10.1001/archderm.1974.01630040074021

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To the Editor.—  Considerable concern has arisen as a result of Dr. Fred Rapp's comments regarding the use of dye-photoinactivation for the treatment of herpes simplex infections published in JAMA (MEDICAL NEWS 225:459, 1973). He theorizes that photodynamic inactivation of viruses may prove to be oncogenic. Before our professional colleagues condemn and discontinue a potentially beneficial treatment, such as photodynamic inactivation for cutaneous infections, we should like to pass along the following thoughts.During the course of an ordinary untreated recurrent herpesvirus infection of the skin, at least 100 defective virus particles are generated for each infective one. It is defective viral particles produced during the photoinactivation process that Dr. Rapp fears may be oncogenic. We suggest that a continued and repeated assault in the area of a recurrent herpes simplex lesion with an abundance of defective virus produced under natural conditions may well constitute a greater risk of oncogenesis

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