The Epstein-Barr Virus May Cause Multiple Sclerosis

The Epstein-Barr Virus May Cause Multiple Sclerosis

A team of researchers at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health have established potential causality between the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and MS. EBV, a common type of herpes virus, has long been suspected to cause or otherwise interact with MS, a chronic disease that prompts the immune system to attack neuron’s essential myelin sheaths. Like other types of herpes, EBV establishes a lifelong latent infection that currently has no cure. The virus is also known for engendering mononucleosis, known colloquially as “kissing disease.” Though the biological link between a contagious virus and a miscalculated immune response that targets the nervous system isn’t necessarily clear, it appears that those who have been infected with EBV are far more likely to develop MS than those without.

The study involved a longitudinal look at more than 10 million young adults on active duty in the US military. Researchers analyzed serum samples at the beginning to establish which soldiers, if any, had already been infected with EBV. Samples were then collected and analyzed every other year, allowing the team to track who had been infected with EBV (or other viruses) and who had stayed virus-free, then consider those infections alongside new MS diagnoses.

The Epstein-Barr Virus May Cause Multiple Sclerosis

By the end of the 20-year period, 955 soldiers had been diagnosed with MS. The researchers found that EBV infection increased the likelihood of MS development 32-fold, though it took an average of ten years from the time of infection for symptoms of MS to make themselves known. Other types of infections (including other sexually transmitted diseases) didn’t appear to impact soldiers’ liklihood of developing MS at all. The researchers also controlled for potential reverse causation by ensuring that those who later were found to have been infected with EBV did not previously show signs of immune dysregulation, which is a key indicator of MS.

Those who conducted the study believe their results encourage the development of antiviral drugs targeting EBV as a method of MS prevention. Moderna, currently known best for its part in making and distributing a major COVID-19 vaccine, is currently developing an EBV vaccine for adults. If successful, the vaccine may carry benefits far beyond warding off a contagious virus.

Continue reading

Beyond Zoom: Virtual Gathering Spaces for the Holidays and Beyond
Beyond Zoom: Virtual Gathering Spaces for the Holidays and Beyond

Software is not yet available for a complete metaverse experience, but there are some promising new communication platforms that might provide an intermediate step between Zoom and a full-blown metaverse.

Scientists Develop Nasal Spray That Can Disable Coronavirus
Scientists Develop Nasal Spray That Can Disable Coronavirus

In a newly released study, the concoction was effective at deactivating the novel coronavirus before it could infect cells.

Android Antivirus Apps Are Useless — Here’s What to Do Instead
Android Antivirus Apps Are Useless — Here’s What to Do Instead

It's still on you to be aware of threats to stay safe, but Android is by its very nature more secure than a desktop computer. Still, you've probably already got what you need.

How to Install Windows 10 in a Virtual Machine
How to Install Windows 10 in a Virtual Machine

If you have to deal with files you can't trust, need to test multiple OS installations on the same system, or otherwise need access to the OS without wanting to use it as a daily driver, here's how to install Windows 10 in a virtual machine.