“Most slow, or delayed, viral infections of the brain that result from being infected by common viruses are caused by mutant strains of the virus. For, example subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is due to a mutant measles virus. Similarly, a mutant strain of the John Cunningham Virus (JCV) causes progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). It has therefore been proposed by many that may be MS is caused by a mutant, or specific, strain of EBV. Is there any evidence for this? No not at present. However, you may be interested to know about a mini-epidemic of MS that occurred in a small semi-rural Danish community in the 90’s. Eight school mates developed MS in a cluster were all infected with the same EBV subtype that differed to the EBV subtype in EBV seropositive controls. The odds of this happening are quite remote, not to mention the odds of eight schoolmates developing MS as part of a temporal (time) and geographical (place) cluster. The background to this comment is that the members of the cluster had all lived in a small community with 74 single-family houses located within an area of 2.7km2. During a 13-year period they had attended the same elementary school with 70-80 pupils for 7 years. The school had a total of 145 pupils during this period. All members of the cluster had been scouts together. Two cases were siblings and two were an aunt and nephew, but MS had not been observed in any of the ancestors of the 8 cases or among the school teachers.”
Munch et al. A single subtype of Epstein-Barr virus in members of multiple sclerosis clusters. Acta Neurol Scand. 1998 Dec;98(6):395-9.
OBJECTIVES: Epidemiological studies strongly indicate an infectious involvement in multiple sclerosis (MS). Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), to which all multiple sclerosis patients are seropositive, is also interesting from an epidemiological point of view. We have reported a cluster of MS patients with 8 members from a small Danish community called Fjelsø. To further evaluate the role of EBV in MS we have investigated the distribution of EBV subtypes in cluster members and in control cohorts.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Blood mononuclear cells were isolated from cluster members, unrelated MS patients, healthy controls, including healthy schoolmates to the Fjelsø cluster patients and finally from persons with autoimmune diseases in order to investigate the number of 39 bp repeats in the EBNA 6-coding region in the EBV seropositive individuals.
RESULTS: We observed a preponderance of the subtype with 3 39 bp repeats in the EBNA 6-coding region both in the MS patients and the healthy controls. In the Fjelsø cluster all 8 cluster members were harbouring this subtype, which is significantly different from the finding in healthy controls (n = 16), which include 8 schoolmates to the cluster members and 8 randomly selected healthy persons (Fischer’s exact test P = 0.0047), and also compared to all non-clustered individuals studied (P = 0.017).
CONCLUSION: Infection with the same subtype of EBV links together the 8 persons from the Fjelsø cluster who later developed MS. This finding adds to the possibility that development of MS is linked to infection with EBV.
“As part of Charcot Project 2 we will use viral shedding of EBV as a readout for antiviral drugs targeting EBV. The first drug we will investigate is famciclovir. We propose seeing if it suppresses viral shedding in the saliva and whether it has any utility in treating IM. Please note we can’t take Charcot Project forward without generating our own data on EBV shedding in the saliva. Having our own data will allow us to do accurate power calculations for our proposed clinical trials and will hopefully allow us to convince grant reviewers’ that we have all the necessary lab assays working. This is why we are asking you to help us raise the money to do the lab work for this study. I sincerely hope you can help.”
“If everyone who visited our site donated £1 will get to our target within a week. As always I would like to thank those of you who have already donated so kindly. Thank you.”
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“If this work inspires you please send the link to anyone you know who has a personal link with MS. I can’t tell you how important it is for us not give up on the viral hypothesis of MS. I have a dream, a dream of a world free of MS; the Charcot Project is our attempt at making that dream come true.”
CoI: Team G will be recipients of a grant from Crowdacure to perform this research