Well, the bad news is it may take a little while. But the good news is that this particular approach (i.e., a live vaccine) should actually work, so it should be worth the wait.
FYI, the only effective animal and human herpesvirus vaccines (e.g., chickenpox and shingles) that have ever succeeded were all live vaccines. Life-long infection with the vaccine strain (i.e., life-long boosts to your immune system) seems to be the common denominator for success.
I would assume that provided I can get some money together, two years of R&D would be needed to take me from where I am now to the actual HSV-1 and HSV-2 vaccine strains I want to build and all of the necessary data to talk clinical trials. Basically the steps are:
1. Build the actual, proposed vaccine strains of HSV-1 and HSV-2
2. Test the HSV-1 and HSV-2 vaccine strains in several species of animals for safety and effectiveness (e.g., rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as mice)
3. Proceed to the FDA and ask about the steps required for clinical trials once steps 1 and 2 are complete.
On the HSV-1 side, building the right virus for a vaccine strain should be quick (less than 2 months) because I have all of the tools in hand. On the HSV-2 side, I have to go back to the virus and re-trace the steps I followed with HSV-1 but with HSV-2.... probably 6 to 9 months on that step alone.
I am checking with Montana State University to find out what I can and can't do to collect private and corporate donations for this cause. While there is an arm of the University called the MSU Foundation through which money is donated for specific University-related causes (research, athletics, libraries, etc.), I just need to find out where the lines are drawn to make sure I am not breaking any rules if I set up a website giving people a means to specifically support my herpes vaccine research efforts.
I will certainly let this group know what I find out, and the biggest help anybody could offer me is simply by letting me know ideas on how to get the word out. Each unfunded NIH grant I don't have to write is effectively one month that I am free to get out from behind my computer and do what I was supposedly trained to do....work in the lab and do actual science.....radical idea, isn't it?
As always, thanks to Rajah and everyone here for giving me a place to look for the type of feedback and support that helps me do my job a lot better than I can working in the vacuum of a lab. For those who have been around this website for awhile, you know that this was really critical in helping me focus on learning what doctors-to-be need to hear about herpes when I was teaching at Tulane Med School. I should be getting a similar teaching opportunity at MSU next Spring, so the lessons I learned at the Original HHP are still paying off.