J Infect Dis 2002 Oct 15;186 Suppl 1:S131-7
Department of Virology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, Royal Free Campus, London NW3 2PF, United Kingdom.
Controlled trials suggest that acyclovir/valacyclovir can provide significant clinical benefits when used for prophylaxis in the immunocompromised host.
These findings implicate herpesvirus(es) in the pathogenesis of complex medical conditions, including graft rejection and death.
However, it is not known which of the 8 herpesviruses are important under particular circumstances.
Prime candidates for triggering adverse outcomes are cytomegalovirus (CMV) in solid organ transplant recipients (causing rejection), CMV and human herpesvirus type 6 (HHV-6) in bone marrow transplant patients (causing marrow suppression), and herpes simplex virus, HHV-6, and CMV in AIDS patients (accelerating the rate of human immunodeficiency virus disease progression and death).
Other diseases that may have a herpesvirus component or trigger susceptible antiviral agents include atherosclerosis and multiple sclerosis.
In the future, clinicians should be alert to novel findings of randomized trials that may provide insight into the pathogenesis of these diseases and the contributions made by clinically silent herpesvirus infections.