The vaccine in question is designed to treat HSV-2, a more aggressive but less common strain of the usually sexually transmitted virus that typically causes genital herpes. While there is no cure, there are drugs to help keep it in check. In addition to outbreaks of painful genital sores, it can put people at increased risk for contracting other illnesses, such as HIV.


In a press release issued when the initial story broke in August, Halford said that he had chosen to conduct the trial in the Caribbean because of cumbersome American regulations.

In the US, Trump and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb have pledged to speed up the drug approval process. But Halford’s unorthodox practices make a good case for why those regulations are in place to begin with: One trial participant who said he received the injections in Illinois told Kaiser Health News that he was afraid the vaccine may have given him a new type of herpes that he didn’t previously have.


We reached out to Peter Thiel for comment and will update the post should we hear back.

[Kaiser Health News]