Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is responsible for a farrago of acute and chronic human diseases including cancer. A prophylactic vaccine could reduce this disease burden. Several EBV vaccines have been given to humans but none has been sufficiently studied to establish safety and efficacy. EBV vaccine development has been hampered by the lack of an animal model other than subhuman primates, proprietary issues, selection of an appropriate adjuvant, and failure to reach consensus on what an EBV vaccine could or should actually achieve. A recent conference at the U.S. National Institutes of Health emphasizing the global importance of EBV vaccine and advocating a phase 3 trial to prevent infectious mononucleosis should encourage research that could eventually lead to its licensure.
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This work was supported by grants from the University of Minnesota International Center for Antiviral Research and Epidemiology , the University of Minnesota Foundation , and the National Institutes of Health ( 2PO1 DK 13083 ).