Is this why the Epstein-Barr virus causes MS?

Published 22 February 2022

A new study may have discovered the reason the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) increases the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Structural similarities between a brain protein called GlialCam and a protein in EBV might cause B-cells, immune cells that are involved in the development of MS, may mistakenly attack the body’s healthy tissue whilst fighting EBV.

The association between infection with EBV and MS risk has been known for a long time. EBV infections around 90% of the population at some point in their lives. A recent study found that almost everyone with MS has been infected with the EBV at some point, leading them to conclude it may be the leading trigger for the condition.

It’s hoped this research will help uncover the molecular mechanisms behind the association, paving the way for new therapies for MS.