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January 15, 1973

Photodynamic Inactivation of Herpes Simplex: Report of a Clinical Trial

Author Affiliations

From the departments of dermatology (Drs. Felber, Smith, and Knox) and virology and epidemiology (C. Wallis and Dr. Melnick), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

JAMA. 1973;223(3):289-292. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220030027005

Herpes simplex virus can be inactivated if exposed to any of several heterotricyclic dyes and irradiated briefly with an ordinary fluorescent light. This finding has been applied in a double-blind study in a group of patients with at least four episodes of recurrent herpes simplex infection per year. Therapy consisted of rupturing early vesicular lesions, application of the dye, and subsequent exposure to fluorescent light for 15 minutes. Eighteen of 20 patients treated with the active medication noted symptomatic improvement superior to that experienced with any form of therapy previously used. Also, in virtually all patients a 50% or greater improvement in healing time was noted. After follow-up study from 18 to 30 months, 85% of the patients had a 50% or greater decrease in recurrence rate and only 11% had a recurrence to exactly the same site. These results were superior to those obtained in a group of 12 control patients.

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