Farrell et al. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of interferon-beta and neutralizing anti-interferon-beta antibodies (NAbs) on markers of EBV infection and activity in subjects with MS. RESULTS: 100% of MS subjects in this study were seropositive for EBV infection, which confirms the published data. 25 % (IFN-beta treated) were NAb positive; in other words their immune systems had rejected IFN-beta by making antibodies against it; these antibodies then prevent IFN-beta from working. Patients who were NAB-negative had lower antibody levels against EBV than subjects who were NAB-positive. CONCLUSIONS: This results suggests that IFN-beta may be working against EBV. We have previously shown that the titre of antibody against EBV correlates with MS disease activity on MRI.
“This study provides indirect evidence that EBV is important in the pathogenesis of MS and that IFN-beta may be working in MS by suppressing EBV. The lattter is not surprising as IFN-beta is a potent anti-viral drug. On an individual level if you have been on IFN-beta for more than 12 months you should have yourself tested for NABs; there is no point in being on a drug that is being prevented from working by NABs.”
COI: This study was done by Dr Rachel Farrell in our group.
Acknowledgement: This study was supported by a grant form the MS Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.