A compound for healing painful blisters

Updated: Apr 25, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: Researchers have identified a compound that shows promise in healing painful blisters known as shingles, not amenable to treatment so far.

Most adults remember the fever, itchy blisters and possibly tiny scars they experienced as children when they had chickenpox, which is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, or VZV.

Unfortunately, that memory can come back when they are older. The VZV virus from childhood chickenpox hides in the nerves, emerging most frequently in adults over the age of 60 as a blistering rash on one side of the body, reports the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The rate of complications, including nerve pain that can persist for months or years after the shingles attack is gone, also increases with age. The novel and effective anti-shingles agent, called L-BHDA, may change that.

"We need new options for medications with increased potency and specificity that can treat VZV, including strains that may be resistant to existing drugs," said Chung (David) Chu, professor in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences at the University of Georgia, according to a Georgia statement.

"L-BHDA has the potential to be more effective than existing agents," said Chu. He noted that the new compound has been tested in the lab and demonstrated in mice models by a group of researchers headed by Jennifer Moffat, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University.

IANS