a messy, but requited relationship: t1d and cvb

A messy, but requited relationship: t1d and cvb

Sometimes the “sparks” just can’t be ignored. Not the love-at-first-sight kind, but viruses sparking Type 1 Diabetes. Numerous studies have investigated viral infections’ role in T1D development, and researchers are closer than ever in putting out a preventative treatment that may actually be effective. 

Researchers have focused their efforts on enteroviruses (EVs), the most common human viruses, which were recurrently found in t1 diabetic patients. Then, an interesting, requited spark to the relationship was found. Certain kinds of EVs, the group B coxsackieviruses (CVB), have a strong tropism for pancreatic beta cells, which express the CVB’s major receptor CAR (coxsackie-adenovirus receptor).

Putting the relationship to the test, in Finland

A Finnish study was the first to systematically assess the validity of this relationship. Here’s how they did it and what they found:

  • Birth cohorts’ data was collected from the Diabetes Prediction and Prevention (DIPP) study in Finland
  • To pinpoint any associations, individuals were screened for neutralizing antibodies against 41 enterovirus serotypes, including six from CVB, as well as diabetes-predictive autoantibodies
  • The main finding: Only CVB serotypes modified the risk of developing beta-cell autoantibodies and clinical T1D, such that:
    • An increased risk of pancreatic beta cell autoimmunity and t1d development was associated with CVB1, which coincidentally was one of the most frequent enteroviruses when the studied birth cohort was still young
    • CVB3 and CVB6 were associated with  lower risk of developing beta-cell autoimmunity
  • The researchers widened this study to other countries and had similar findings

Their main takeaway? Sing it with me — A vaccine against CVB1 may be the key to preventing T1D!

Good news: that’s exactly what’s happening.

In May 2020, Provention Bio, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, and Vactech, a Finnish biotech company, recently announced very promising preclinical study results for PRV-101, a CVB vaccine. 

  • Without any side effects, the vaccine produced strong neutralizing antibody responses to all CVB serotypes in murine and nonhuman primates
  • Even more exciting, the vaccine was effective at preventing CVB-induced T1D in NOD and SOCS-1-tg mice

Looking ahead: We still have to wait for human trials of PRV-101 to confirm its effectiveness, but it looks we’ve finally figured out this dance between t1d and cvb.


  • Filippi, C. M., & von Herrath, M. G. (2008). Viral trigger for type 1 diabetes: pros and cons. Diabetes, 57(11), 2863-2871.
  • Laitinen, O. H., Honkanen, H., Pakkanen, O., Oikarinen, S., Hankaniemi, M. M., Huhtala, H., … & Virtanen, S. M. (2014). Coxsackievirus B1 is associated with induction of β-cell autoimmunity that portends type 1 diabetes. Diabetes, 63(2), 446-455.
  • Oikarinen, S., Tauriainen, S., Hober, D., Lucas, B., Vazeou, A., Sioofy-Khojine, A., … & Knip, M. (2014). Virus antibody survey in different European populations indicates risk association between coxsackievirus B1 and type 1 diabetes. Diabetes, 63(2), 655-662.
  • Stone, V. M., Hankaniemi, M. M., Laitinen, O. H., Sioofy-Khojine, A. B., Lin, A., Lozano, I. D., … & Hytönen, V. P. (2020). A hexavalent Coxsackievirus B vaccine is highly immunogenic and has a strong protective capacity in mice and nonhuman primates. Science Advances, 6(19), eaaz2433.