How the virus behind ‘kissing disease’ may increase your risk for autoimmune diseases like lupus

When John Harley lost a friend to lupus while in medical school, he vowed to get to the bottom of the disease, a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and sometimes death. Now, some 40 years later, Harley says he’s found a “smoking gun.” The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which infects some 90% of Americans, may cause changes in gene expression that dramatically increase a person’s chance of getting lupus and six other autoimmune disorders, a new study by Harley and colleagues shows.

“The work is paradigm-shifting in the way we think about genetic susceptibility and the interaction between genetic risk and the environment,” says Amr Sawalha, a geneticist and rheumatologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who was not involved in the study. Read more.

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Author: Dr. Baek

- Scientist (Microbiology, Synthetic Biology, Molecular Biology). - Founder / CEO of the biotech company Peption LLC. - Passionate about biotechnological innovations to address important global health issues.

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