Acyclovir for Herpes Infections Involving the Central Nervous System in Neonates

2014-08-27 03:56:19 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to test whether long term treatment with acyclovir given orally (by mouth) improves the outcome for infants with herpes simplex virus infection of the brain or spinal cord (known as the central nervous system [CNS]). Infants with herpes viral infection of the CNS that has or has not spread to other parts of the body will be enrolled in this study. All participants will receive treatment in a hospital for 21 days with acyclovir, given intravenously (by a needle inserted into a vein). Participants will then be divided into two groups: those with CNS disease that has or has not spread to the skin, and those whose viral infection has spread and involves the CNS. Both groups will be randomly assigned to receive either oral acyclovir or placebo (inactive substance) for 6 months. Infants in the US and Canada will participate for 5 years. A physical exam, hearing exam, eye exam, and an evaluation of the nervous system will be performed throughout the study.


Neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) disease complicates approximately 1 in every 3,000 deliveries in the United States, resulting in an estimated 1, 500 cases annually in this country. HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections in the neonate can manifest as: disseminated disease; central nervous system (CNS) disease; or disease limited to the skin, eyes, and mouth (SEM disease). This study will evaluate the efficacy of long term suppressive therapy with oral acyclovir in infants with CNS disease, with or without evidence of dissemination to other organs (including the skin). It will determine if suppressive oral acyclovir therapy improves neurologic outcome in infants following HSV disease with CNS involvement and address the significance of a positive cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result when all other CSF parameters either remain normal or show improvement. Comparisons will be made between groups with respect to post-randomization time to first positive CSF PCR result during the initial 12 months of life, and results will be correlated with clinical neurological assessments. It will determine if continuous administration of oral acyclovir suspension suppresses recurrent skin lesions in infants following HSV disease with CNS involvement, and it will confirm the safety of long-term administration of oral acyclovir therapy in a cohort of infants with HSV disease with CNS involvement. Finally, the effects of suppressive acyclovir therapy on issues of pharmacoeconomics and family infrastructure will be assessed and quantitated. Infants with CNS disease (with or without evidence of viral dissemination to other organs, such as the skin, liver, and lungs) will qualify for this study. Following a 21 day course of treatment with intravenous (IV) acyclovir, infants with CNS disease, with or without cutaneous involvement, will be randomized to either continuous oral acyclovir or placebo (CNS Sub-Study). Similarly, infants with disseminated disease with CNS involvement will be randomized to either continuous oral acyclovir or placebo (Disseminated with CNS Involvement Sub-Study). The subset of infants with CNS disease (with or without dissemination) who do not clear their acute infection in 21 days of IV acyclovir therapy will be eligible for enrollment in a Pilot Sub-Study. This group is expected to be of insufficient number to be able to obtain statistical significance for establishing efficacy. Per protocol amendment dated 19-Nov-1998, 66 subjects will be recruited into each sub-study. Subjects will begin oral drug therapy 8 hours after the final IV acyclovir dose and oral drug therapy will be administered for 6 months. Whole blood (1.0 cubic centimeter) will be obtained at study enrollment and at completion of IV antiviral therapy for HSV PCR analysis, per protocol amendment dated 4-May-1998. This amendment replaces the obtaining of serum for HSV PCR analysis. In the event that whole blood is not available, serum will be provided instead. All children will be followed at 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months of age. Physical examination, hearing assessment, and retinal examination will be performed at each follow-up visit. Standardized neurological evaluations will be performed at 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months. The primary study endpoint will evaluate neurological impairment at 12 months of life. The secondary endpoints will evaluate post-randomization detection of HSV DNA in CSF by PCR at any time during the initial 12 months of life and 2 or fewer episodes post-randomization of cutaneous recurrence of HSV disease during the initial 12 months of life.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator), Primary Purpose: Treatment


Herpes Simplex


Acyclovir, Placebo


University of Alabama at Birmingham
United States




National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:56:19-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Trans-acting protein that combines with host factors to induce immediate early gene transcription in herpes simplex virus.

A cellular transcriptional coactivator that was originally identified by its requirement for the stable assembly IMMEDIATE-EARLY PROTEINS of the HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS. It is a nuclear protein that is a transcriptional coactivator for a number of transcription factors including VP16 PROTEIN; GA-BINDING PROTEIN; EARLY GROWTH RESPONSE PROTEIN 2; and E2F4 TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR. It also interacts with and stabilizes HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS PROTEIN VMW65 and helps regulate GENETIC TRANSCRIPTION of IMMEDIATE-EARLY GENES in HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS.

A group of acute infections caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2 that is characterized by the development of one or more small fluid-filled vesicles with a raised erythematous base on the skin or mucous membrane. It occurs as a primary infection or recurs due to a reactivation of a latent infection. (Dorland, 27th ed.)

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