As equine herpesvirus (EHV) gains worldwide significance, international research groups are seeking a better understanding of the disease. Scientists’ ultimate goal is to provide horse owners with an effective vaccine with which to protect their horses—and other species as well—in the relatively near future.

“Our knowledge about EHV is now greatly expanded, and we are putting more efforts into developing new strategies, vaccines, and/or antiviral drugs to control the virus,” said Walid Azab, PhD, of the Virology Institute at Freie University, in Berlin, Germany, and the Department of Virology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Zagazig University, in Egypt.

In a recently published academic review, Azab and co-authors Ma Guanggang, PhD, and Nikolaus Osterreider, DrMedVet, described the history of EHV research up to 2013. Their focus is on EHV-1 and EHV-4, which they said are “arguably the most relevant herpesviruses affecting equids.”

“Recently we have accumulated more data about EHV,” Azab said. “EHV causes severe losses in horse populations all over the world, and it can jump species barriers and infect other wild animals. It’s therefore important to share our data with other scientists and shed more light on this important virus.”

In their review, the researchers analyzed how EHV-1 differs from EHV-4. Once thought to be different strains of the same virus, scientists now know that the two independent viruses have marked differences in their DNA, which could explain their different ways of spreading to other animals and the various clinical signs they cause. While EHV-4