Originally published by Solve M.E. CEO Oved Amitay in a LinkedIn post.
Very encouraging to learn today that top experts from OPKO Health, Inc. and ModeX Therapeutics Inc team up with Merck to develop Epstein-BarrVirus Vaccine Candidate. Dr. Gary Nabel, founding director of NIH’s Vaccine Research Center and a top scientific executive at Sanofi, and former NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni bring their unique expertise in this field, which would augment Merck’s track record of developing and commercializing vaccines.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is one of the most common human viruses and nearly all people around the world are infected by it. EBV is a member of the herpes virus family, also known as HHV-4. It can cause infectious mononucleosis, also called mono, which in some people can lead to a lingering or chronic condition of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, (ME/CFS), and can be severely disabling. More recently, reactivation of EBV has been associated with Long Covid. EBV has been implicated in multiple sclerosis and some specific types of cancer. The unmet medical need created by EBV is incredibly high, and there are currently no FDA approved vaccines or treatments for EBV infection.
The specific nature of this vaccine approach, targeting four viral proteins involved in viral entry into host cells, is promising as it inhibits infection in B cells and epithelial cells. It also raises intriguing ideas about a potential role in treatment of chronic or recurrent EBV infections. Looking forward to hear about the progress of this program.
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