Epstein-Barr Virus in Multiple Sclerosis: Theory and Emerging Immunotherapies

Amit Bar-Or, Michael P Pender, Rajiv Khanna, Lawrence Steinman, Hans-Peter Hartung, Tap Maniar, Ed Croze, Blake T Aftab, Gavin Giovannoni, Manher A Joshi
Trends in Molecular Medicine 2020, 26 (3): 296-310
New treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) focused on B cells have created an atmosphere of excitement in the MS community. B cells are now known to play a major role in disease, demonstrated by the highly impactful effect of a B cell-depleting antibody on controlling MS. The idea that a virus may play a role in the development of MS has a long history and is supported mostly by studies demonstrating a link between B cell-tropic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and disease onset. Efforts to develop antiviral strategies for treating MS are underway. Although gaps remain in our understanding of the etiology of MS, the role, if any, of viruses in propagating pathogenic immune responses deserves attention.

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