The study's goal is to find a link between the existence of Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigens (EBVNA) and rheumatoid arthritis in patients. The present study was conducted on a study population with a sample size of 148 participants, comprising of two groups: the first (74) rheumatoid arthritis patients (case) and the second (74) healthy persons with no symptoms of autoimmunity (control).
The existence of the virus was investigated in both case and control groups. Patients visiting Marjan Medical City in Babil Governorate between November 2017 and May 2018 between the ages of 15 and 75 years were recruited. The patients and control samples were serologically screened using ELISA techniques prior to identification of EBV genes (EBNA1 and EBNA2) was conducted using nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR).
The results obtained indicated that 3 samples were positive for EBNA1, while 5 were positive for EBNA2 in the patients group. No positive EBNA1 and EBNA2 positive sample was obtained in the control group. This study found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis had detectable levels of EBNA-1, EBNA-2 genes while the control group had none. These findings suggest that the virus has a role in the increased prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis.