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Epstein-Barr virus profile

This association of EBV with benign and malignant disease is unique among DNA viruses. EBV is the main cause of infectious mononucleosis (also known as glandular fever) and is also associated with several kinds of cancer, including Burkitt and Hodgkins lymphoma, stomach cancer and nasopharyngeal cancer, as well as several autoimmune diseases1,2,3.

EBV has been used in cell culture to generate cell lines which do not die, but can continue to divide indefinitely. Within EBV infected tissues, proteins that are expressed during the normal lytic and latent viral life cycle lead to cellular alterations1. In lymphocytes (white blood cells), EBV infection causes the cells to proliferate indefinitely in vivo. This process, which is known as immortalisation, is essential to the pathogenesis of the virus. Immortalisation can be replicated in vitro to generate EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines for use in research. The European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) currently undertakes this process using EBV from the NCPV collection (catalogue 1506011v) as part of its human genetics service which aims to support disease research.

EBV is a relatively complex virus which is not yet fully understood. Currently, there are no vaccines available, nor treatments for infections caused by this virus. Laboratories around the world continue to study the virus and develop new ways to treat the diseases it causes. Epstein-Barr virus (catalogue 1506011v) strain B95-8 is available from NCPV as live virus or as viral DNA.

To keep up to date with new strains to the collection visit the new viral strains page on the website and follow us on Twitter @NCPV.



  1. KUTOK, J. L. & WANG, F. 2006. Spectrum Of Epstein-Barr Virus–Associated Diseases. Annual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease, 1, 375-404.

  2. MACHÓN, C., FÀBREGA-FERRER, M., ZHOU, D., CUERVO, A., CARRASCOSA, J. L., STUART, D. I. & COLL, M. 2019. Atomic structure of the Epstein-Barr virus portal. Nature Communications, 10, 3891.

  3. CANCER RESEARCH UK, 2019. Does EBV cause cancer? Retrieved from


Prepared By Moragwa Maosa

October 2019

January 2020