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The initial infection causes mononucleosis in some children and young adults, which is characterized by symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion that sometimes lasts for months. Its trigger was previously unclear. Researchers at MedUni Vienna have now discovered a cause and thus a new possible target for the development of vaccines.

reason for the infection

The MedUni reported that scientists have not yet been able to explain why EBV triggers glandular fever in some infected people and not in others. The team led by Elisabeth Puchhammer-Stöckl, head of the Center for Virology, has now identified a specific immune response against the Epstein-Barr virus as the cause. The study results were published in the journal “Blood” of the American Society of Hematology.

“In our investigations, we found that people with a specific gene variant develop mononucleosis much less frequently than others. As our laboratory experiments showed, this gene variant was also associated with a strong EBV-specific immune response,” explains Hannes Vietzen, one of the authors of the study. Because this immune response was measurable years after the initial EBV infection and provides long-lasting protection against re-infection with EBV, it might be worth targeting this mechanism for the development of future vaccines, the researchers say.

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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