An experimental vaccine against the Epstein-Barr virus has induced immune responses in large animals and triggered the production of antibodies that protect against infection, according to a new study by researchers at the pharmaceutical company Sanofi and published this Wednesday. in the magazine Science Translational Medicine.
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The drug's design suggests it could solve the total lack of vaccines for Epstein-Barr virus infections and could help prevent associated disorders ranging from cancer to multiple sclerosis.
The Epstein-Barr virus infects more than 95% of adults worldwide and can cause a host of health disorders and complications. In addition to being the main cause of mononucleosis, the virus is associated with cancers such as lymphoma and gastric cancer and causes more than 200,000 cases of cancer per year worldwide.
Likewise, recent research has also linked the Epstein-Barr virus to multiple sclerosis, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that has no cure. Despite this wide public health impact, there is still no vaccine that can prevent Epstein-Barr virus infections, and a viable vaccine could save many lives.
Now, the team of researchers presents the experimental vaccine containing self-assembled nanoparticles. After building the vaccine, the researchers administered it to mice, ferrets and non-human primates. The drug induced neutralizing antibodies in the animals, and the isolated antibodies prevented Epstein-Barr virus from entering B cells and epithelial cells.
In addition, antibody transfers from vaccinated mice suppressed viral levels in virus-exposed mice, and none of the mice developed virus-linked lymphomas.
Taken together, these data suggest that the vaccine [...] it is an efficient and scalable candidate that is likely to limit the presence of virus in the blood after Epstein-Barr infection, thereby reducing infectious mononucleosis and possibly virus-associated cancers.” point from the team in a press release.