The quest to prevent MS — and understand other post-viral diseases

Researchers are investigating why some people infected with Epstein-Barr virus go on to develop multiple sclerosis, and what can be done to prevent it.

Results from a huge epidemiological study found that infection by the Epstein-Barr virus increases the risk of developing multiple sclerosis 32-fold. This result, combined with emerging mechanistic insights into how the virus triggers brain damage, are raising the prospect of treating or preventing MS.

These advances come at a time when researchers are more interested than ever in what happens in the months and years following a viral infection, and highlights the issues untangling the relationships between infectious diseases and chronic conditions.


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