Two Experimental Vaccines Could Protect Against The Mono Virus

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which has infected approximately 95% of people around the globe and is linked to mononucleosis (mono), multiple sclerosis (MS), and certain cancers, may soon be on its way out. This is thanks to the development of 2 new vaccines, per US News & World Report.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), EBV is typically passed through saliva and other bodily fluids with symptoms including extreme tiredness, rash, sore throat, and swollen neck glands. While many children and adults who contract EBV recover in a few days or weeks, some people end up sick for months. "It infects B cells in the body, your antibody-producing cells, and it causes those cells to proliferate abnormally," Dr. Gary Nabel, president and CEO of ModeX Therapeutics, told US News & World Report. "You get a lot of inflammation, and you get a lot of immune dysregulation. And that's why people feel lousy. That's why it takes several months to get over."

EBV can also trigger MS and is the cause of mono and cancers of the stomach and lymphatic system. Fortunately, a new vaccine for EBV is on the horizon.

New vaccines could protect against the Epstein-Barr virus

A 2022 study published in Science Translational Medicine details the development of 2 vaccines that may protect against the Epstein-Barr virus. Although clinical trials have not yet been conducted on human participants, the research done on animals showed significant protection against EBV after receiving the vaccines.

The vaccines are effective, according to researchers, because they create a barrier between both of the pathways that the virus typically uses to enter and infect the body, per US News & World Report. "That gives us an opportunity to really damp down any foothold the virus may be able to take in establishing itself in the body," Dr. Nabal explained to US News & World Report. "That's why we think that this is a worthwhile approach, because we've essentially isolated two critical entry proteins for the virus, and can block its ability to enter cells and cause infection."

Because EBV can potentially cause stomach cancer, lymphoma, and issues with multiple sclerosis, the success of the vaccine could potentially have life-saving results. Studies on human participants are slated to begin this year, per US News & World Report.