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Multiple sclerosis could be caused by the common ‘kissing disease’ virus, scientists say

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The debilitating disease multiple sclerosis could be caused by the common virus behind "kissing disease", scientists claim.

A new study from Harvard University suggests the chronic disease could be from an infection of Epstein-Barr, a herpes virus that causes infectious mononucleosis.

Mono or glandular fever, as it’s otherwise known, is colloquially known as "the kissing disease" for being highly contagious through saliva.

While causing fatigue, fever, rash, and swollen glands, researchers propose that the Epstein-Barr virus could also establish a latent, lifelong infection that may be a leading cause of multiple sclerosis.

Affecting 2.8 million people, there is no known cure for the chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system.

“The hypothesis that EBV causes MS has been investigated by our group and others for several years, but this is the first study providing compelling evidence of causality,” the study’s senior author Alberto Ascherio, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Chan School, said in a press release.

“This is a big step because it suggests that most MS cases could be prevented by stopping EBV infection, and that targeting EBV could lead to the discovery of a cure for MS.”

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Source: The Independent, 13 January 2022

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