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Volunteers needed for cold sore trial


Brigid Veale
7 March 2005
People who suffer from six or more cold sores a year are being sought to take part in a Southern Cross University trial to test the safety and effectiveness of Shea Butter Extract in treating the virus.

The trial, a joint project being conducted through the Australian Centre for Complementary Medicine Education and Research (ACCMER), will involve up to 80 volunteers from Lismore, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. ACCMER is a joint venture between Queensland University and Southern Cross University committed to evidenced-based research into complementary medicine.

SCU researcher Dr Joan O’Connor said she was looking for 40 volunteers from the Lismore region who had the Herpes simplex virus (HSV).

“HSV infections are among the most common diseases in humans with an estimated 60 to 90 per cent of adults affected worldwide and 20 to 40 per cent of the adult population having recurrent cold sores,” Dr O’Connor said.

The virus, which is transmitted by direct contact with infected secretions, can remain latent in the system until triggered by factors including a common cold, fever, emotional stress, illness or trauma and exposure to sunlight.

The study will look at the effectiveness of Shea Butter extract in reducing the duration and severity of cold sores and also whether it is able to reduce the number of cold sores suffered. It will be in two stages – initially treating cold sores using an application of the butter, and in the second phase, using a lip balm preventatively.

Shea Butter Extract is produced from sheanuts and is widely used as an emollient in cosmetic ointments and creams. It has been shown to have anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.

Volunteers will be required to attend the clinic on nine occasions over nine months. Anyone interested in taking part in the trial should contact Dr O’Connor on 66203649 or email [email protected]