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Diseases Studied

The Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network is an NIH-funded research network of 20 active consortia or research groups working to advance treatment for diseases that are rare. Use the search tools on this page to find the diseases we currently study. You can reach out to the indicated consortia or research groups for more information on those diseases and studies underway.

This network focuses on clinical research and does not generally support clinical care outside of research activities. To learn about other rare diseases, please visit the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), which is an NIH program that helps the public find reliable information about rare and genetic diseases. Their staff are specialists. Contact them at 1-888-205-2311 or email

All Diseases > Herpes Simplex Virus

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)

Alternative Names: Human Alphaherpesvirus 1/Human Alphaherpesvirus 2 (HHV-1/HHV-2 or HSV-1/HSV-2)

Disease Category: Congenital Infections

A contagious herpes viral infection spread via infected bodily fluids, causing blistering sores around the mouth or face (type 1) or genital region (type 2). Infected mothers may spread the virus to their babies at birth, causing localized disease (of the skin, eyes or mouth) or widespread symptoms affecting the central nervous system or multiple organ systems (disseminated disease).

Research groups studying this disease

Congenital Infections
CPIC logo

Congenital and Perinatal Infections Consortium (CPIC)


The purpose of this study is to evaluate at-risk babies to determine the appropriate dose of oral valacyclovir comparable to the intravenous (IV) acyclovir doses typically used to treat babies with neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) disease. IV acyclovir is best for the treatment of babies who already have HSV disease, but it is not ideal to prevent HSV disease because there are risks associated with IV use in babies. Valacyclovir is metabolized to become acyclovir, and although it has been studied in babies as young as one month old, there are no dosing recommendations for those less than three months old. This study focuses on at-risk babies whose mothers have a history of genital HSV infection and have been taking oral acyclovir or valacyclovir for several weeks before delivery. By studying the blood concentration, metabolism, clearance and safety profile of valacyclovir in infants less than one month old, we will determine the best dose of valacyclovir to prevent HSV infection when babies are exposed to it at birth. We will also inform larger studies using valacyclovir to treat neonatal HSV disease.

Herpes Cure Advocacy (HCA) is a grassroots membership-based, international advocacy organization with a goal of treatment, cure and prevention for Herpes Simplex Virus types 1 + 2.