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Persistence of Epstein-Barr Virus in Vivo

18 Years
Not Enrolling
Epstein Barr Virus Infection, Healthy

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Trial Information

Persistence of Epstein-Barr Virus in Vivo

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the cause of heterophile-positive infectious mononucleosis.
After primary EBV infection, the virus persists in resting memory B lymphocytes and can be
detected in oropharyngeal secretions. Short term (1 month) treatment with oral acyclovir,
which inhibits EBV replication, results in loss of virus shedding from the oropharynx, but
the virus persists in B cells. The goal of this study is to determine if EBV will no longer
persist in B cells in patients treated with long term (20 month) oral valaciclovir (which is
metabolized to acyclovir). Blood samples and throat washings will be obtained every three
months from individuals who are receiving valaciclovir for treatment of genital herpes
simplex virus infection. These samples will be analyzed for EBV DNA to determine if the
level of EBV DNA declines or becomes negative with long term antiviral therapy. If the
level of EBV DNA becomes undetectable in EBV-seropositive persons during the study, we will
ask the patients to return twice a year for five years or if they develop symptoms of
mononucleosis, so that EBV DNA in their blood and throat washings can be studied. Knowledge
gained from this study should provide important insights into the mechanism of persistence
of EBV infection.

Inclusion Criteria


1. 18 years of age or older and deemed healthy by current medical status and
laboratory tests.

2. Willing to be seen every three months for one year.

3. Have symptomatic recurrent genital herpes disease confirmed by their private
medical doctor.

4. Eligible for suppressive antiviral therapy for genital herpes disease: history
of genital herpes AND either a positive culture for HSV from the genital area or
a positive serology for HSV-2 from the patient's private physician. If the
subject does not have a positive HSV genital culture or HSV-2 serology, we will
confirm the diagnosis by an HSV-2 Western Blot.

5. Recurrence rate between 3 and 9 recurrences a year.

6. Have never taken or have been off HSV suppressive therapy for three months prior
to entering study.

7. In opinion of investigator, subjects must be able to comply with protocol


1. Subjects who are known or suspected to be immunocompromised. This includes subjects
receiving immunosuppressive therapy, subjects with malignancy or subjects who
acknowledge being seropositive for HIV.

2. Subjects with a history of 10 or more HSV recurrences per year.

3. Impaired real function as defined by serum creatine greater than 1.5 mg/dl (133uM).

4. Impaired hepatic function as defined by an alanine transaminase (ALT) level greater
than 3 times the normal upper limit.

5. Known hypersensitivity to acyclovir, valaciclovir, famciclovir, or ganciclovir.

6. Malabsorption syndrome or other gastro-intestinal dysfunction that might impair drug

7. Women contemplating pregnancy within the year's duration of receiving valaciclovir
from us.

8. Women of child bearing potential not using an effective method of contraception.
Effective contraception is use of birth control pills or use of a barrier method
(e.g. condom) with a spermicide.

9. Positive pregnancy test (or pregnant females or nursing mothers).

10. Swallowing disorders which would make gargling difficult.

Type of Study:


Study Design:



United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

June 2000

Completion Date:

February 2010

Related Keywords:

  • Epstein Barr Virus Infection
  • Healthy
  • B Cell
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Virus Diseases
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections



National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, Maryland  20892