Nationally, about one baby in 100 is born with cytomegalovirus (CMV), the most common infection that causes birth defects and disabilities in babies in the United States. As National Immunization Awareness Month draws to a close, a researcher at the University of Minnesota (U of M) Medical School has been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant for $3.9 million to conduct research studies of novel vaccine strategies for this infection.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

The National Academy of Medicine has identified a CMV vaccine as being the highest public health priority for any new vaccine.

“CMV has coevolved with people since the advent of humankind,” said Mark R. Schleiss, MD, Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, U of M Medical School. “A vaccine for CMV would be a huge public breakthrough and save the healthcare systems billions of dollars every year.”

Most people acquire cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection at some point in their lives. Out of the seven billion people in the world, it’s estimated that more than five billion have been (or will be) infected with this virus. Most people who contract the infection sometime after birth have no symptoms and don’t even know they have it. However, babies that are infected in utero could be born with birth defects and disabilities. The virus is transmitted through bodily fluids, and there is currently no vaccine licensed for human use.

Read more at University of Minnesota