Each year, over 200,000 cancer cases and 140,000 deaths are caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Glandular fever is also caused by the virus. The suspicion that it is partly responsible for multiple sclerosis has also recently been confirmed. And the cause of ME / CFS – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which has recently received increasing attention due to its parallels with Long Covid – is often the Epstein-Barr virus.
Despite these far-reaching health effects that virus infection can have, there is currently no therapy to treat it effectively, nor is there an approved vaccine. That may change, according to a recent study that has now been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The research team was made up of scientists from various US companies and universities, such as the pharmaceutical company Sanofi and the University of Chicago. He developed a nanoparticle vaccine. This elicited neutralizing antibodies in mice, ferrets and monkeys, which blocked the infection.
The vaccine is described in the study as a “promising candidate” for the prevention of Epstein-Barr virus infection and the cancer it causes. The vaccine design suggests it may address the current vaccine shortage against EBV infection. The next step is a clinical study with high-risk patients.
More than 95 percent of all adults are infected
The Epstein-Barr virus was discovered in the 1960s. More than 95% of all adults in the world are infected with it, most from childhood. The virus is mainly transmitted by droplets and smears. Transplants or blood transfusions are less common.
The infection is often asymptomatic and in most cases it has no consequences. Like all herpes viruses, the Epstein-Barr virus remains dormant in the body for life, can be reactivated at any time and cause various diseases.