Our Research

Our research is dedicated to learning how the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) causes disease and developing a vaccine against it.

Researchers Jennifer Geris, Lauren Duval, and Dr. Balfour (from left to right)

Mono is an infectious disease caused by EBV, a member of the herpesvirus family. EBV is one of the oldest and most common human viruses, infecting roughly 90% of adults worldwide. To cause mono, EBV spreads most commonly through the exchange of oral fluids. For this reason, mono has been thought of as "the kissing disease," which we recently have proven to be true. 

Besides causing mono, EBV is also a causative agent of several forms of cancer, including Burkitt lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Additionally, new evidence is supporting the link that EBV plays a role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). EBV is also a risk factor for PTLD in solid organ and hematopoietic cell (bone marrow) transplant patients.

Epstein-Barr Virus Vaccine

Researchers at the Mono Project are currently partnering with industry to develop a vaccine that could potentially prevent EBV-caused diseases, such as infectious mono, EBV-associated cancers, and multiple sclerosis (MS). A vaccine could also potentially prevent severe illness or even death from EBV infection following transplantation, especially in pediatric patients who have not been exposed to the virus and have no immunity to it. Stay tuned for more updates! To be the first to receive information on the vaccine progress, subscribe to our email list.

Chronic Mono

Chronic mono follows an EBV infection with two patterns, including continuous illness persisting after the onset or recovery from the acute illness but lingering or recurring symptoms for years. For advice on managing chronic mono click here to download our treatment suggestions for antiviral drugs and diet. We also have a sheet of suggested herbal therapies. Ideally, all treatments should be followed under the direct supervision of a physician.

Watch an Interview with Dr. Balfour