EBV is an ubiquitous, linear double stranded DNA virus that belongs to the herpesvirus family. It is estimated that 90% of the population worldwide is infected with EBV. In immunocompetent individuals, EBV infection can be asymptomatic but could lead to infectious mononucleosis and is associated with different types of cancers. Following primary infection, EBV enters circulating B lymphocytes and remains in a latent state thereafter.
In immunocompromised individuals such as transplant patients, reactivation of EBV may result in malignant lymphoproliferation and is an important cause of morbidity and mortality. The majority of these tumours, known as post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) often occur in the first year following transplantation. Testing of whole blood and plasma samples by a quantitative nucleic acid amplification assays such as the Panther Fusion EBV Quant assay is a rapid, sensitive, convenient and non-invasive method for monitoring EBV infection in transplant patients.