Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common viral infection that affects people of all ages worldwide. While it typically causes mild or no symptoms in healthy individuals, CMV can have severe consequences for specific populations, particularly pregnant women. In this blog, we will dive into the effects of CMV on women, especially during pregnancy, and shed light on an ongoing clinical trial for an investigational vaccine.
What is Cytomegalovirus?
Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is a member of the herpesvirus family that can infect various organs and tissues. It is typically transmitted through bodily fluids, such as saliva, urine, blood, and breast milk. The infection often goes unnoticed in healthy individuals or causes mild flu-like symptoms. However, CMV can have severe implications for pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals.
Effects of CMV on Women:
CMV can be transmitted from an infected mother to her unborn child, leading to congenital CMV infection. This can result in various health issues for the infant, including hearing loss, developmental delays, vision problems, and even intellectual disabilities. Pregnant women who acquire CMV for the first time during pregnancy face an increased risk of complications, such as preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, and preeclampsia.
Clinical Trial for a Preventative CMV Vaccine:
The medical community recognizes the urgent need for a preventative CMV vaccine, especially for women of childbearing age. Fortunately, a promising clinical trial is underway to develop such a vaccine. The clinical trial evaluates the safety and efficacy of a novel CMV vaccine candidate. The trial enrolls women 16 – 40 years of age who have not previously had a CMV infection, must be in good general health, not pregnant, and are in close contact with at least one child 5 years of age or younger for at least 8 hours a week, if age 20 or older. The study doctor will discuss additional participation requirements with you and can answer any questions you may have during the trial.
Preventive Measures for CMV:
While a vaccine is being developed, it is essential for women to be aware of preventive measures to reduce the risk of CMV infection. Practicing good hygiene, such as handwashing, avoiding close contact with individuals showing symptoms, and raising awareness about CMV and its potential consequences.
What We’re Doing to Help
Cytomegalovirus can impact various populations, particularly pregnant women, newborns, and immunocompromised individuals. Understanding the transmission routes and adopting preventive measures is crucial, especially for pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. Current vaccine studies at New England Research Associates aim to develop effective antivirals. Women 16 – 40 years of age who are in close contact with children under the age of 5 may qualify. Qualified participants may see a study doctor at no cost, have access to study medications, and receive compensation for time and travel. Click here to learn more, or call us at 203-374-9816.