Varicella-zoster virus: Using embryonic stem cells to test drugs

Scientists report on a novel experimental model that, for the first time, successfully mimics the ‘sleeping’ and ‘waking’ of the varicella-zoster virus. Based on neurons generated from human embryonic stem cells, and not requiring the use of experimental animals, the model allows scientists to test drugs and develop therapies to prevent shingles. It may also contribute to the fight against other viruses — such as herpes and polio — that target the human nervous system.

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