Modelling the dynamics of EBV transmission to inform a vaccine target product profile and future vaccination strategy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Lara Goscé
  • Joanne R Winter
  • Graham Taylor
  • Joanna E A Lewis
  • Helen R Stagg

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University College London
  • Centre for Liver Research, Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.
  • MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College, School of Public Health, London, W2 1NY, UK.
  • University of Edinburgh, The


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is one of the most common human viruses and the cause of pathologies such as infectious mononucleosis (IM) and certain cancers. No vaccine against EBV infection currently exists, but such vaccines are in development. Knowledge of how EBV is transmitted at the population level is critical to the development of target product profiles (TPPs) for such vaccines and future vaccination strategies. We present the first mathematical model of EBV transmission, parameterised using data from England, and use it to compare hypothetical prophylactic vaccines with different characteristics and the impact of vaccinating different age groups. We found that vaccine duration had more impact than vaccine efficacy on modelled EBV and IM prevalence. The age group vaccinated also had an important effect: vaccinating at a younger age led to a greater reduction in seroprevalence but an increase in IM cases associated with delayed infection. Vaccination had impact on cancer incidence only in the long run, because in England most EBV-related cancers arise in later life. Durability of protection should be a key factor to prioritise in EBV vaccine development and included in vaccine TPPs. These findings are timely and important for vaccine developers and policy-makers alike.


Original languageEnglish
Article number9290
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2019