A group of scientists claimed that they have identified the cause of Multiple Sclerosis, which could help in developing a vaccine for its prevention.
The Daily Mail reported that the researchers in University of Glasgow and Harvard University published their findings in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
If the doctors are proved right, a vaccine for avoiding multiple sclerosis could be a reality soon. About 100,000 people live with MS in the UK alone.
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A group of experts claimed that they have discovered the cause of the disease, which develops following two separate common infections causing the body to attack itself.
They suggest that a development of a vaccine against one of the viruses could help in preventing multiple sclerosis.
It is a neurological condition that is triggered when the immune system attacks the nerves, causing fatigue, pain, vision problems, and spasms.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow and Harvard University claimed that exposure to threadworms followed by the Epstein-Barr virus could be the trigger. It is considered a breakthrough as the cause had never been identified so far.
According to the scientists, developing a vaccine or drug to stop individuals from getting the Epstein-Barr virus may make them immune to MS.
Consultant neurologist at the University of Glasgow, Professor John Paul Leach, said, ‘MS is a condition where the body produces antibodies against itself for reasons that have never been understood and goes against its own nervous system. It is odd that we have never found out why some people are more prone than others.
The doctor added that there had been evidence that exposure to the virus made a person prone to developing multiple sclerosis.
Though the explanation is a theory at the moment, the scientists plan to carry out a research.
Threadworms affect a sixth of the world’s population and are a parasitic infection, common in children. The Epstein-Barr virus, one of the most common viruses in humans, causes glandular fever.
Dr. Patrick Kearns of Harvard University, who led the research, said that the missing link may have been the threadworm infection, which is a common condition in children and in soldiers living in barracks.
He added that when the body is exposed to threadworm infection, it creates an immune response and “memory” white blood cells are produced and live in the immune system that could fight off the infection again.
After someone is exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus, threadworm hides in the white blood cells even after the individual recovers from the illness.
Dr. Kearns said that the next step would be to develop “better tools” to target the Epstein-Barr virus with vaccine or drugs.