Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine, in collaboration with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, have created a computer program called Pathogen Simulation (PathSim) to study the progression of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in humans.
David Thorley-Lawson, PhD, professor of pathology at Tufts University School of Medicine, is combining PathSim, laboratory methods, and clinical studies to provide a new and powerful approach to understanding EBV, and ultimately designing anti-viral therapies.
According to Thorley-Lawson, EBV can infect one person and remain latent, but then infect another person and cause infectious mononucleosis, or in rare cases, cancer like Hodgkin's, Burkitt's, and immunoblastic lymphomas. The research team was able to validate PathSim by comparing it to EBV infection in patients. The scientists hope the knowledge can lead to developing drugs that target specific points in the interaction between the virus and immune system at specific times.