We May Have Found the Cause of Multiple Sclerosis

And the culprit is: the Epstein-Barr virus.

“The hypothesis that EBV (Epstein-Barr virus) causes MS has been investigated by our group and others for several years, but this is the first study providing compelling evidence of causality,” said Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “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.”

So the good news is that we know pretty definitively what causes MS. The bad news: EVS is one of the most common viruses on earth – it’s estimated that 95% of adults have it in their bodies – and it’s already associated with a raft of diseases ranging from herpes to mononucleosis to multiple cancers and lymphomas.

But there’s good news here, too. This means that research into EVS – be it detection, vaccination or treatment – will have even more benefit to humanity. A vector to attack this virus could potentially do more to help public health than any treatment in decades.

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