THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Epstein-Barr virus vaccine shows promise in animal study

Epstein-Barr virus vaccine shows promise in animal study | Courtesy of biothreatsmitre.org
A team of scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, have created an experimental, nanoparticle-based vaccine for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) that has successfully provoked potent neutralizing antibodies in mice and nonhuman primates.

The team created a nanoparticle-based vaccine to induce the immune system to respond to EBV. In the study’s subjects, which included mice as well as nonhuman primates, the vaccine proved effect in creating antibodies against EBV.

Nanoparticles, which are microscopic particles, are under investigation as being carriers or delivery vehicles for strains contained in vaccines. Research suggests that using these self-assembling nanoparticles in a structure-based vaccine can carry the viral protein to the immune system, which could be a successful way to vaccinate humans against EBV.

EBV was first discovered in 1964. It is one of the world’s most common viruses. Nine out of every 10 people will have EBV in their lifetimes. Many people either experience no symptoms or mild symptoms.

People typically contract EBV through saliva. EBV is one of the main causes of mononucleosis, commonly called mono. EBV is linked to approximately 200,000 cancer cases each year, including aggressive Hodgkin and Burkitt lymphoma, stomach cancers, nasopharyngeal cancers and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

As of today, there is not a licensed vaccine that can prevent people from developing EBV infections.

Organizations in this story

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9806 Bethesda, MD 20892-9806

National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892

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