Picture of vaccination

Clinical trial for Epstein-Barr Virus taking place next year

German startup company EBViously has announced it plans to bring a vaccine for the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) into clinical trials next year.

EBV is a known risk factor in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) and so the development of a vaccine against this virus, which affects up to 95% of the population, could have big implications for the future of the condition.

One study that looked at more than 10 million adults in the US over the course of 20 years found that previous infection with EBV increased the risk of developing MS by 32 times. Researchers have speculated the reason for this is because there are similarities in the proteins in the virus to proteins in the brain, and so the body’s own immune response to the virus may also attack the brain.

The potential vaccine, EBV-001, being developed contains particles similar to the virus but that cannot cause infection – they are composed of virus shell but have no viral genetic material.

It’s been shown in preclinical testing to provoke an immune response, and in animal models induced a broad immune response that reflected human immunity against EBV.