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Epstein Barr virus (EBV) was the first human tumor virus to be identified. Despite 50years of research on this oncogenic virus, no therapeutic or prophylactic vaccine is available against this pathogen. In part, the development of such a vaccine is hampered by the lack of in vivo models for EBV infection and immune control. However, with the advent of mice with reconstituted human immune system components (HIS mice), certain aspects of EBV associated diseases and immune responses can be modeled in vivo. In this review, we will discuss the insights that can be gained from these experiments, and how immune system components can be manipulated to interrogate their function during EBV infection. Finally, we will compare EBV immunobiology in HIS mice to infection by EBV-related viruses in monkeys, and we will outline the strengths and weaknesses of these two in vivo models of EBV infection. Both of these models show great promise as a platform for preclinical EBV vaccine testing.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of immunological methods

Publication Date





80 - 87


Viral Immunobiology, Institute of Experimental Immunology, University of Zürich, Switzerland.


Animals, Humans, Mice, Herpesvirus 4, Human, Epstein-Barr Virus Infections, Disease Models, Animal, Models, Immunological