Epstein-Barr virus: Trigger and driver of multiple sclerosis?

Microscopic view of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), stained with Hematoxylin and eosin (HE). This color image highlights abnormal cells or tissue associated with EBV, a virus linked to several types of cancer and other disorders. Source: National Cancer Institute.

Recent research has indicated a link between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and multiple sclerosis (MS), with some researchers going as far as to say that EBV might be a potential trigger of MS. However, it remains unclear whether the virus also drives the progression of the disease. Current treatments focus largely on moderating inflammation. In this article, we expand on the hypothesized correlation between MS and EBV, and underscore the need to consider antiviral protection in drug development.


Multiple sclerosis. MS is an unpredictable and debilitating neurological autoimmune disease that turns the body’s immune system against itself, …

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Moderna doses the first patient with its mRNA Epstein-Barr virus vaccine candidate

Moderna (NSDQ:MRNA) has dosed the first volunteer in the Phase 1 Eclipse study of mRNA-1189, an Epstein-Barr virus vaccine candidate.

The study will take place at roughly 15 sites in the U.S. and involve approximately 272 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 30.

The study will be randomized, observer-blind, placebo-controlled and involve a range of doses.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is one of the most common viruses, representing one of the viruses that cause infectious mononucleosis (mono). EBV is also linked to a heightened risk of multiple sclerosis and some cancers and autoimmune diseases.

EBV seroprevalence tends to rise with age, affecting 90–95% of adults.

“Adolescents who develop infectious mononucleosis are frequently absent from school for weeks and even months at a time, impacting the quality of their education and their families,” said Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO, in a press release.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NSD…

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‘Good’ viruses? Tapping human viruses to address untreatable diseases

Electron microscopic image of two Epstein-Barr virus virions. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

After living through the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, it’s understandable that most people consider viruses to be our enemies causing illness and harm to humans. However, this outlook fails to consider the many surprising advantages these submicroscopic collections of genetic code afford scientists in pushing the boundaries of medicine.

Viruses have honed advantageous skills over billions of years of evolution to invade and hijack the cellular machinery of living organisms, including bacteria, fungi, animals and, importantly, humans. As such, this ability to manipulate life has enabled researchers to gain insights into how best to exploit this advantage for good. This effort has already yielded new biological therapies to treat a wide range of diseases, including rare, inherited disorders treated with gene and…

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