Herpes Simplex Virus Portal

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Classification

ICTV Group: Herpesvirales
Baltimore Group: Group I (dsDNA viruses)
Family: Herpesviridae
Genus: Simplexvirus
Species: Human Herpesvirus, Herpes Simplex Virus


In addition to being the cause of genital herpes, herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) infection has been associated with an increased risk of HIV acquisition and transmission.  This, coupled with the high prevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 worldwide (314,800 million), has lead to the search for effective drug treatments and preventative vaccines.  At this point, the most promising vaccine approach appears to be the use of replication-defective mutant viruses .  Generation of such mutant viruses requires detailed genome sequence data; however, to date, the sequence data available for HSVs is limited.  Only one laboratory HSV-1 strain has been completely sequenced (strain 17), as well as only one laboratory HSV-2 strain (HG-52). Despite one report of several HSV-1 genomes having been sequenced, no low passage clinical isolate genomes have been publically released.  Therefore, more representative virus genomes from additional laboratory strains as well as from virulent, clinical isolates are needed as the framework for assembly of genomic sequences obtained by high throughput sequencing.

Funding Information

This sequencing project was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health funded Genome Sequencing Center for Infectious Diseases at the Broad Institute.

Image Captions and Credits

The images on this page are, from left to right:

  1. Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Herpes simplex virus from the Wellcome Photo Library, Wellcome Images.
  2. Micrograph showing the changes in cells infected with herpes simplex virus (HSV). Pap test, Pap stain. From Wikimedia Commons, photo: Nephron.
  3. Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Herpes simplex viruses in cell nucleus from the Wellcome Photo Library, Wellcome Images.
  4. Negatively-stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of numerous herpes simplex virions from the Wellcome Photo Library, Wellcome Images.
  5. Cold sore on the lower lip (cluster of fluid-filled blisters = very infectious). From Wikimedia Commons, photo: Metju12