Medical Dictionary

Epstein–Barr virus

noun Ep·stein–Barr virus \ˌep-ˌstīn-ˌbär-\

Medical Definition of Epstein–Barr virus

  1. :  a herpesvirus (species Human herpesvirus 4 of the genus Lymphocryptovirus) that causes infectious mononucleosis and is associated with Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma—abbreviation EBV; called also EB virus

Biographical Note for epstein–barr virus


\ˈep-ˌstīn\play ,

Michael Anthony

(born 1921), and


\ˈbär\play ,

Yvonne M.

(born 1932), British virologists. In 1964 Epstein and Barr isolated a herpesvirus in cultured Burkitt's lymphoma cells. This herpesvirus, since known as the Epstein-Barr virus, is now thought to be a cause of various types of human cancers, including Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Epstein also did research on tumor cell structure and other viruses.

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