Study examines effectiveness of antiviral drug to treat mononucleosis

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University of Minnesota researchers have begun studying a new drug to treat infectious mononucleosis, commonly known as mono. The goal of the study is to find out if people who take the antiviral drug valomaciclovir recover from mono faster.

This is the first clinical test of valomaciclovir for mono, and it is being conducted exclusively at the University of Minnesota.

“Mono has an enormous impact on young adults, especially on a college campus. Reducing the severity and length of the symptoms would mean less time away from school and work,” said Henry Balfour, Jr., M.D., who heads the clinical trial. “Additionally, what we learn from studying mono in otherwise healthy people may have important implications for transplant or cancer patients, who are at risk for more severe illnesses caused by the same virus, called Epstein-Barr virus.”

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a member of the herpes virus family, and is transmitted mainly through saliva.

Anyone over the age of 18 whose mono symptoms are less than a week old may be eligible to join the study; the researchers hope to recruit 40 participants during 2008. The clinical trial is placebo-controlled, meaning participants will be randomly assigned to receive valomaciclovir or a look-alike pill that contains no medicine. This enables the researchers to determine scientifically whether or not the drug is effective.

Participants who qualify for the study will visit the research clinic 10 times over a six-month period. At each visit, the participant will have blood drawn and will gargle with a solution; both samples will help the researchers determine if the drug is working. Participants will be compensated at each visit with a gift card for the University of Minnesota Bookstore.

Source: University of Minnesota, USA

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