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The pre-submission email regarding

Simple solutions mitigate herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections: Further evidence of a Retardant Effect – PDF Paper

Simon G. Sheppard

Since just a single submission to a journal often takes months, I sent a preliminary email to about a dozen journals —

Dear Sirs

I have an important paper which I would like to submit to [journal]. This is a plain English summary (not the abstract):

Human herpesvirus infection is commonplace yet existing topical treatments for this vexing complaint have limited effectiveness. This provisional investigation appears to demonstrate the superior performance of certain simple mixtures in suppressing the symptoms of HSV infection. Further, suggestions were made that local application is capable of exerting a Retardant Effect, moderating future outbreaks. If confirmed, the Retardant Effect would have profound implications for the future treatment of HSV disease.

I conducted trials with 223 participants in total, of whom a subset, 97, are documented in my first report. The trouble is, the trials began with a herbal API [Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient], which are unrestricted, and I was unaware that I was supposed to get a review board stamp of approval for any trial, no matter how innocuous the substances used or method of administration. I made no secret of the fact that I was undertaking these trials. The only other trial I did was in 1994.

Although I couch the paper's language cautiously, and call for confirmation of my findings, I am convinced that it describes a major breakthrough in HSV treatment. I am, however, facing difficulty getting it accepted because of the absence of trial authorisation. In my view it would be unethical not to publish, considering the potential for health improvement and reduction in human suffering my findings represent.

In sum, would your journal defer to “higher ethics” and consider my paper for publication, overlooking the absence of trial authorisation? The paper is approx. 2,300 words with three tables.

Yours faithfully
Simon Sheppard
Orcid: 0000-0001-8466-7870

Most of the time this email was ignored and submitting my paper several times without the above pre-submission email led to it being rejected out of hand. One journal, to its credit, did invite submission and gave some helpful suggestions for its revision. However after 3½ months in review the paper was somewhat unkindly rejected, for the usual reason.

Finally a last-ditch submission was made to a brand new journal. Mention of a herbal ingredient resulted in a discourse from a Person With Pronouns on “Plant ethics.”

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