IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


18th April, 2023 Science and Technology

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  • A study published in the journal Nature shows that Epstein-Barr virus or EBV that is primarily spread through saliva can evolve into cancer.

About EBV

  • The Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), formally called Human gammaherpesvirus 4, is one of the nine known human herpesvirus types in the herpes family.
  • It is one of the most common viruses in humans. EBV is a double-stranded DNA virus.


  • Infection with EBV occurs by the oral transfer of saliva and genital secretions.

Symptoms of Epstein-Barr virus

Symptoms range in severity for each person diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus. Symptoms include:

  • Sore throat and throat inflammation (swelling).
  • Fatigue or feeling extremely tired.
  • Swollen lymph nodes (a bean-shaped organ in your neck).
  • Rashes on your skin.
  • Enlarged spleen and liver


  • The virus causes infectious mononucleosis ("mono" or "glandular fever").
  • It is also associated with various non-malignant, premalignant, and malignant Epstein–Barr virus-associated lymphoproliferative diseases such as Burkitt lymphoma, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, and Hodgkin's lymphoma; non-lymphoid malignancies such as gastric cancer and nasopharyngeal carcinoma; and conditions associated with human immunodeficiency virus such as hairy leukoplakia and central nervous system lymphomas.

Adaptive Immunity in EBV

  • Most people become infected with EBV and gain adaptive immunity.
  • EBV infects B cells of the immune system and epithelial cells. Once EBV's initial lytic infection is brought under control, EBV latency persists in the individual's memory B cells for the rest of their life.


  • If one gets Epstein-Barr virus, the infection deactivates (latent) or goes to sleep.
  • The infection could wake up (reactivate), especially if she has a weakened immune system.
  • Sometimes the virus does not cause symptoms in the host but it is still contagious to others

How is Epstein-Barr virus treated?

  • Treatment for Epstein-Barr virus addresses symptoms associated with the infection. Treatment includes:
    • Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids.
    • Resting
    • Taking over-the-counter medicine for a fever and pain.
  • Getting enough rest is important to prevent symptoms from getting worse. It is especially important that you avoid excessive physical activity that could lead to a ruptured spleen if the virus causes your spleen to enlarge.


Q. Which of the following statements are correct in reference to the Epstein-Barr virus?

a)    The Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), formally called Human Gammaherpesvirus 4, is one of the nine known human herpesvirus types in the herpes family.

b)    EBV is an RNA virus.

1.    Only a

2.    Only b

3.    Both a and b

4.    None of the above.

Correct Answer: Option 1