The Search for a Mono Vaccine
For the week of February 19, 2017
Mono is commonly known as the “kissing disease” and often dismissed as a rite of passage into early adulthood; but the disease, caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus, can be much more serious. 280,000 college freshman contract the disease every year and EBV has been linked to certain forms of cancer and multiple sclerosis. Why don’t we have a vaccine for such a disease? Dr. Balfour discusses the history of EBV and his research into finding a vaccine.
Guest: Dr. Henry Balfour, Jr., Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota
The Epstein-Barr Virus is one of nine herpes viruses that infect humans, and once infected, the virus never leaves the body. Dr. Balfour explains how EBV causes mono and why it has been linked to other diseases found later in life.
The pre-clinical work for a vaccine for EBV has just begun at the U of M; Dr. Balfour hopes this work will lead to approval from the FDA and that the experimental vaccine will be tested on subjects as early as the 2018 school year.
More information on EBV and Dr. Balfour’s research can be found on the U of M’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology website; and more information on how to donate to further EBV research can be found on the U of M’s makingagift.umn.edu page.