Discussing Epstein-Barr Virus and Multiple Sclerosis: Bruce Bebo, PhD


The executive vice president of the National MS Society spoke on recently published data suggesting the relationship between EBV and MS, also sharing his opinion on the potential of vaccines. [WATCH TIME: 2 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 2 minutes

“It’s a little more complicated than the [coronavirus] vaccine, unfortunately, but again, decades of research have been invested in developing vaccines for EBV, and there are some good candidates, so we’re very excited about that possibility.”

An article published in Science in Jan 2021 suggested that the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), also known as herpesvirus 4, may be the leading cause for multiple sclerosis (MS), lending validation to a theory that has been historically investigated in the field. At the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2022, February 24-26, in West Palm Beach, Florida, NeurologyLive®sat down with Bruce Bebo, PhD, executive vice president, National MS Society, to get his opinion on this relationship, as well as how he sees the field changing with these new findings.

According to Bebo, the biggest revelation of the study was that it provided strong evidence against reverse causation, which had stood out as a previous concern, and the last step will be to prove causation via a prevention trial with a vaccine. Noting the work that has been done by the National MS Society, Bebo further called attention to promising candidates in the realm of vaccine development for EBV. The vaccine will be more complicated than the recently developed vaccines for COVID-19, such as BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna), Bebo said, but years of research lend credence to the possibility of identifying a successful vaccine for EBV, as the potential leading concept for preventing the development of MS.

The team at NeurologyLive® recently hosted an expert-led panel discussion on the relationship between EBV and MS. Click here to register and tune in!

For more coverage of ACTRIMS Forum 2022, click here.

1. Bjornevik K, Cortese M, Healy BC, et al. Longitudinal analysis reveals high prevalence of Epstein-Barr virus associated with multiple sclerosis. Science. Published online January 13, 2022. doi:10.1126/science.abj8222

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