"They have good correlative evidence" that the specialized CD8 cells in skin keep the virus at bay, Cullen said. He added, however, that the research doesn't prove that boosting these cells would prevent infections.
He said it will take many more studies to demonstrate that -- if, in fact, it's true.
"It's time to take it to the next level," Cullen said.
As for cold sores (or fever blisters) on the lips or around the mouth -- also caused by the herpes simplex virus -- the researchers said that although it seems logical that those same CD8 cells might be at work, they didn't analyze it in this study.
To find out more about genital herpes, head to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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