The antiviral drugs, known as Acyclovir, that are the primary medications for the treatment of herpes simplex virus (HSV) and its various relatives, have been shown to be highly effective in reducing outbreaks of cold sores. These drugs also reduce the risk of virus-induced poligymes (panleukopenia and polypapillomatosis). To determine whether antiviral drugs can inhibit the replication of genital warts, a research team led by Dr. David MacLennan, M.D., at the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign, published an article in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. Although antiviral drugs already have some measure of effect on herpes outbreaks, the researchers found that the magnitude of effect is limited to the point that about 70% of patients with uncomplicated cold sores will experience complete resolution without antiviral therapy.
The research team compared archived cases of genital warts with cases of genital cross-reactivity and herpes simplex virus (HSV) antibodies against the novel Sars-Covid-2 protein. The team first identified four types of amino acids in Sars-Covid-2 that may cause cross-reactivity in human papillomaviruses and four types of non-human papillomaviruses that show nonsignificant cross-reactivity only with one type of the virus. Using data from this study, MacLennan and his colleagues then determined that the proportions of antibodies specific to these four amino acids in patients who had clinical isolation of Sars-Covid-2 had a high correspondence with the proportionate percentages of antibodies specific to each of the four types of uncomplicated cold sore viruses. When they pooled data from both hospital and community-based cases, they detected significantly higher levels of antibodies specific to Sars-Covid-2 in patients with uncomplicated cold sore disease than in patients with high levels of cross-reactivity to any of the four herpes species.
From this study, MacLennan’s group concluded that Sars-Covid-2 is indeed the major cause of genital warts. However, although the virus was identified, they were not able to identify a single agent that causes all cases of cross-reactive antibodies to Sars-Covid-2. Because the majority of patients with detectable antibodies to Sars-Covid-2 are of unknown age, gender, or ethnic background, the group also warns that the virus might be more widely distributed than previously thought, and could be responsible for widespread outbreaks of genital warts throughout the US and world. Since this discovery has new implications for the global population, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently undertaking activities to monitor the worldwide distribution of Sars-Covid-2 and to regulate the production and sale of the product.