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About Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)


A recent study shows that Epstein-Barr virus that is primarily spread through saliva can evolve into cancer.


Facts for Prelims

About Epstein-Barr virus (EBV):

  • It is one of the most common human viruses in the world.
  • It spreads through bodily fluids, especially saliva (spit).
  • Symptoms: Fatigue, fever, inflamed throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, enlarged spleen, swollen liver, rash.
  • EBV is a cause of infectious mononucleosis and other infections
  •  Long-lasting latent infections are associated with several cancers and chronic inflammatory disorders.
  • Researchers at University of California San Diego have described how the virus exploits genomic weaknesses to cause cancer while reducing the body’s ability to suppress it.
  • The researchers found that the virus induces cleavage of human chromosome 11, which initiates genomic instability and potentially activates a leukemia-causing oncogene while inactivating a major tumor suppressor.
  • This is the first time that this mechanism has been described.
  • The findings shed light on how a virus can manipulate the human genome to cause cancer.
  • Senior study author Don Cleveland, PhD, stated that this research shows “how a virus can induce cleavage of human chromosome 11, initiating a cascade of genomic instability that can potentially activate a leukemia-causing oncogene and inactivate a major tumor suppressor.”

-Source: Hindustan Times

February 2024