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