Research shows a new vaccine developed by UC Davis holds promise for slowing an infection that's a concern in pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.
The vaccine was designed to treat cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV is an infection that's spread by direct contact with saliva, urine or other bodily fluids, especially in babies and young children. It can become severe for infants and even life-threatening for people with weak immune systems.
A UC Davis team conducted the study in monkeys and found the vaccine slowed the spread of CMV for three months. The team simulated how the virus spreads in daycare centers and schools. They also targeted a viral gene that prevents the immune system from responding to the infection.
This research is the first to show that a vaccine can prevent the spread of CMV across mucosal surfaces such as the mouth and nose.
“A CMV vaccine in infants and toddlers would help to prevent infections in pregnant women, reducing the chance that their babies become infected and develop disabilities,” said Jesse Deere. He is first author of the study and a scientist in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at UC Davis Health.
CMV infects people of all ages. Most people show no signs or symptoms. But the infection is a concern for pregnant women and people with weak immune systems. Most pregnant women are infected through contact with their own younger children, or children in daycare or school.