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To the Editor.—
The controversy concerning the photoinactivation of Herpesvirus hominis (herpes simplex virus) seems to have expanded in recent weeks, as reported in the Archives (109:570, 1974). The discussion reminds me in many ways of the Teller-Pauling debate over nuclear testing. As in that situation, or in recent controversies about the impact of chemicals on the environment, the data are inadequate to arrive at a strictly scientific conclusion. I think the scientific arguments and intentions of the Baylor group need more careful scrutiny.A number of epidemiologic studies and molecular virology experiments link herpesvirus hominis to cancer in man. Although a direct causal relationship has not been established, a step in that direction occurred when investigators discovered an oncogenic potential for irradiated virions in tissue culture and experimental animals. These observations led to Dr. Fred Rapp's concern over the irradiation of herpes simplex lesions, as performed during photoinactivation therapy
Pass F. Photoinactivation Therapy and Herpes Simplex. Arch Dermatol. 1974;110(4):641-642. doi:10.1001/archderm.1974.01630100089037