"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

A blood test that tracks the immune response could possibly be step one in developing higher treatments.

An estimate 2.8 million people There is multiple sclerosis (MS) worldwide. This is the results of the autoimmune system damaging parts of the brain and spinal cord nerves, which might cause problems with movement, vision, balance and sensation.

Although many MS symptoms could be managed, there's currently no approach to cure or prevent the condition. It is due to the complex immune response that results in this disease. But oh Blood tests Recently developed by me and my colleagues allowed us to evaluate the strength of the immune response in individuals with MS.

This finding could bring us one step closer not only to understanding the causes of MS, but additionally to developing higher treatments for the condition.

Researchers are still not entirely sure what exactly causes MS. But a growing body of evidence suggests that it's a primary driver of the condition. Epstein-Barr virus (Also called glandular fever or infectious mononucleosis).

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is spread through saliva and typically affects children at a young age. Symptoms are sometimes mild, just like the common cold. But for others they might have a sore throat and high levels of fatigue.

However, the body never actually clears the virus. In most individuals, the immune system Makes it harmless.. But individuals with MS have an abnormal immune response to the virus. may be responsible for disease.

There has been a link between Epstein-Barr virus and MS. Considered for over 20 years.With several studies highlighting the high prevalence of this virus in individuals with MS. But in 2022, a Great study More than 10 million young adults eventually provided a robust, epidemiological basis for this link.

The study, which followed participants for 20 years, found that the danger of MS increased 32-fold after EBV infection. No other viral infections have been shown to extend the danger of MS.

The work also showed that proteins that make up EBNA-1 (a component of the Epstein-Barr virus) and myelin (the outer layer of our nerves). share a similar structure. Myelin normally keeps our nerves healthy, but in individuals with MS, the immune system recognizes myelin as a foreign invader and attacks it.

This finding provides a vital start line for research investigating the mechanisms behind the immune response that results in MS. It might also allow researchers to someday develop higher treatments for MS.

MS blood test

MS symptoms are often managed using Immunosuppressants. These suppress the body's overall immune response, which might reduce the severity of MS symptoms.

But these drugs have many unwanted unwanted side effects, including headaches, stomachaches and gastrointestinal problems. And, because they edit. Immune system responsethis can lead to more frequent chest, sinus or bladder infections.

Antiviral drugs could also be one other possible treatment route. They goal a particular virus within the body and stop it from replicating. Because they only goal a particular virus, they don't suppress the body's overall immune system.

There has been a series of Interesting case reports That of individuals with MS Also developed HIV And they got antivirals – a regular a part of HIV care, because they stop the virus from replicating itself.

gave Surprising result It belonged to those people Symptoms of MS appeared to resolve. This suggests that antivirals could also be a useful treatment. By stopping EBV from replicating within the body, it will possibly help put MS into remission.

People with MS have an abnormal immune response to the virus that causes mono.
Katrina Kahn/Shutterstock

But to develop an antiviral, we'd like to know the way strongly the immune system is responding to EBV in MS patients.

With this in mind, my colleagues and I Prepared a blood test which quantifies the body's immune response to EBV.

To test whether it really works, we took blood samples from individuals with MS, epilepsy and folks with no existing medical conditions. We observed a complete of 145 individuals and confirmed with laboratory testing that every individual had symptoms of previous EBV infection.

Although our primary focus was MS, we wanted to check how the immune responses of those participants differed in comparison with individuals with no existing health conditions, and folks with different neurological conditions who were infected with EBV. are usually not connected to

We found that the immune response to EBV was higher in individuals with MS than in either of the opposite two groups. This provides support for the concept that it's the immune response to EBV that's chargeable for causing MS.

We also found that current MS drugs affect the immune system's response to EBV. Drugs that kill circulating immune cells (called B cells) were shown to induce an immune response to EBV in MS patients that was just like the immune response to the virus in healthy participants.

We were excited about this result since the precise mechanism of motion of those B cell-depleting drugs in MS just isn't understood. One theory is that these drugs clear EBV from the system by attacking the B cells that harbor the virus. This has been difficult to prove, but we consider that the findings of our study support this theory.

A serious goal of our study is to develop a prospective method to record the effect of medication that focus on EBV in MS in clinical trials. We consider that testing virus levels alone is not going to be sufficient, because the disease is attributable to an immune response. We consider that our latest blood test has the potential to be utilized in future clinical trials using antivirals or vaccines against EBV in MS.