A Harvard study shows that the main cause of multiple sclerosis is the 'kissing disease'

A team from Harvard University provides the first scientific evidence showing that multiple sclerosis, an incurable degenerative disease that affects 2.8 million people worldwide, is caused by Epstein-Barr virus infection, a type of the human herpes virus family that is spread by kissing, according to the study published by the journal Science.

The discovery of the origin of this serious unstoppable disease, because it has no cure, is undoubtedly a great step for medicine because this type of infection could be prevented, for example, with the design of a new vaccine.

EThis is the first study to provide convincing evidence of causation ”, he has outstanding Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Harvard and lead author of It is study.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that attacks the myelin sheaths that protect neurons in the brain and spinal cord.

Until now, scientists did not know what it was its cause, but one of the main suspects andIt was precisely the EBV, the Epstein-Barr virus, a herpes virus that can cause infectious mononucleosis water I know characterizes for causing fever, sore throat, extreme fatigue and swollen lymph nodes. In addition, it tends to infect people latently throughout life.

But nevertheless, establish a causal relationship between the virus and the disease It has been a very complete taskieach, because this virus isaffects approximately 95% of thea world adult population and, in cambio, multiple sclerosis is a relatively rare disease. Furthermore, the appearance of the former begins about ten years after EBV infection.

Discovery

In order to demonstrate the connection between this virus and multiple sclerosis, this team of researchers conducted a study among more than 10 million young adults who were on active duty in the United States military.

These researchers analyzed serum samples sanguine taken every two years by the army and determined the status ofl virus EBV of soldiers at the time of the first sample and the relationship between EBV infection and the appearance of esclerosis múltiple during everything period of active duty.

In this cohort, the risk of esclerosis múltiple it increased 32 times after EBV infection, but did not change after infection with other viruses.

On the other hand, lthe levels from a biomarker of nerve degeneration typical of esclerosis múltiple they increased only after EBV infection. So these two findings cannot be explained by any known risk factors for esclerosis múltiple Y, therefore, they show that EBV is the leading cause of MS.

Unfortunately, there are now no means to be able to prevent or treat so effective infection by that kind of herpes virus, but a vaccine or targeting the virus with EBV-specific antiviral drugs could prevent or, even heal the esclerosis, mUltiple in the near future, as predicted by those responsible for this new research.

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