Another study finds virus may be trigger for multiple sclerosis

Published: 30 August 2022

Another link between the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and multiple sclerosis (MS) has been found in a recent study from Germany.

Researchers found that people who had infectious mononucleosis had a higher incidence of MS in the ten years after their infection than those who had not had it. Infectious mononucleosis is a disease that can be passed person to person and of which the EBV is the leading cause.

The EBV causes what is commonly known as glandular fever in the UK. It is very common worldwide, and is thought to affect most people at some point in their lives. A lot of people have had it without knowing so as often it doesn’t cause symptoms. After the infection has passed, it is thought the virus stays dormant in B-cells, which are immune cells implicated in MS.

Several studies have found evidence that EBV may trigger MS, including one published earlier this year which concluded the virus may be behind all cases of the condition.

Researchers in this latest study said this data could help to find new therapies for MS, including the possibility that EBV vaccination, particularly for those with genetic susceptibility, may be a future preventative therapy.