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Cytomegalovirus Vaccine Shows Promise in Women

Vaccine could reduce rate of maternal and congenital cytomegalovirus infections

WEDNESDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- A vaccine against cytomegalovirus (CMV) had a 50 percent efficacy in women of childbearing age, researchers report in the March 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Robert F. Pass, M.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues analyzed data from 441 women who were randomized to receive placebo or a vaccine containing recombinant CMV envelope glycoprotein B with the adjuvant MF59. Seronegative women were treated with doses given at baseline, one month and six months in the year after giving birth.

CMV infection occurred in 18 of the subjects in the vaccine group (8 percent) and 31 in the placebo group (14 percent), with rates per 100 person-years of 3.3 and 6.6, respectively, the investigators report. Adverse events that were possibly related to the treatment occurred more often in the vaccine group (7 percent versus 2 percent), the authors note.

"Given the experience with rubella, vaccination to prevent congenital CMV infection is likely to require universal infant immunization, which sets a high bar for vaccine safety," write the authors of an accompanying editorial. "The development of an effective CMV vaccine remains a daunting task that will benefit from creative development and trial-design strategies. Even so, the prevention of the burden of congenital CMV infection -- despite all the challenges, must remain a high priority."

The study was supported by Sanofi Pasteur, which provided the vaccine. The adjuvant was provided by Chiron. Several co-authors disclosed financial relationships with a variety of pharmaceutical companies, including Sanofi Pasteur. An editorial author has received fees from Merck and GlaxoSmithKline.

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