FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Epstein-Barr virus vaccine successful in animal testing

Epstein-Barr virus vaccine successful in animal testing. | Courtesy of biology.usf.edu
Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently created a vaccine for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) that has proven successful in mice as well as nonhuman primates.

The new experimental, nanoparticle-based vaccine produced strong neutralizing antibodies in the test subjects.

Nanoparticles, which are microscopic particles, are currently under investigation as potential vaccine delivery vehicles. This vaccine study is important as it shows that a structure-based vaccine design along with self-assembling nanoparticles can deliver viral proteins that induce immune responses from a body. This could be key to creating a vaccine for people at risk for contracting EBV.

EBV was initially identified in 1964. It was one of the most common viruses in the world, as nine out of every 10 people have EBV at some period in their lives. Many of these people do not show any signs of a serious illness or they only have mild symptoms. EBV is typically spread via saliva. It causes mononucleosis (mono).

EBV is connected to approximately 200,000 cancer cases around the world each year. These cancers include non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as Burkitt, nasopharyngeal and stomach cancers. As of today, there is no vaccine that is licensed to prevent people from contracting EBV infections.


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