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Moderna recently began early-stage clinical trials for an mRNA vaccine against Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a common pathogen that infects nearly everyone at some point in their lives. is the primary cause of mononucleosis and, according to a study published in. magazine Science Thursday, a potentially fatal cause of multiple sclerosis (MS), hopes that the devastating neurological condition can be prevented.

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Modern said It included the first participant in a study designed to test its EBV vaccine in early January, and will evaluate the shot’s safety and dosage in about 270 people.

If successful, the shot, made using the same mRNA technology in the company’s COVID-19 vaccine, could be the first EBV vaccine on the market.

The modern trial comes at the same time that Harvard researchers linked the infection with a common virus to MS, a neurological condition that affects some 1 million American after studying the data of more than 10 million people serving in the US military.

MS risk increased 32-fold after infection with EBV, but was unchanged after infection with other viruses, the researchers found, finding findings that could not be explained with any other known risk factor for MS and “the first study to establish causality.” provides compelling evidence”, ” said Alberto Escherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and senior author of the study.

Escherio said the findings were a “huge step forward” and suggest that most cases of MS could be prevented by preventing infection with EBV, as well as opening up the possibility of treating MS “by targeting EBV.”

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