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Diverse Responses to Cytomegalovirus Drive the Need for Population-Specific Treatment Approaches

Amanda Stevenson-Grund - Friday, September 29, 2017

Cytomegalovirus, commonly referred to as CMV, is a member of the herpesvirus family. It is common and typically harmless to the general population – between 50 and 80 percent of people in the United States have had a CMV infection before the age of 40.” – National CMV Foundation. Accessed June 05, 2017.


In medicine, it has long been recognized that subgroups of patients can respond to infections in different ways. For example, cytomegalovirus affects healthy adults, adults with compromised immune systems and children differently. As such, this disease puts these different patient populations at risk for varied adverse outcomes associated with the infection and therefore must be treated accordingly.

Cytomegalovirus is common. Many adults have it and don’t even know it. The Department of Health for the state of New York writes that most “adults who are infected with CMV do not develop symptoms. Those who develop symptoms may experience an illness resembling infectious mononucleosis and have fever, swollen glands and feel tired.”

Adults with compromised immune systems, however, respond differently to cytomegalovirus than healthy adults do. “Severely immunocompromised patients may have severe disease involving the retina, lungs, GI tract, or CNS,“ according to a Merck Manual article updated in 2016. Patients who are likely to exhibit such a strong response include those with HIV/AIDS and recipients of solid organ transplants.

Infants born with congenital cytomegalovirus can experience physical and intellectual disabilities due to the virus. Hearing loss is one of the most common adverse events. Those who are not exposed to the virus until they are in their childhood, however, respond differently. “Young children with the infection may develop insignificant illness. In some cases there may be complications like pneumonia, hepatitis, or a rash,” writes a 2014 article in News-Medical.

Healthy adults, adults with compromised immune systems and pediatric patients respond to the cytomegalovirus differently. Because each group experiences different signs, symptoms and effects, their treatments, should reflect that. Orbis Biosciences® leverages its proprietary Unisun® platform to deliver treatments directly to the inner ear. This localized approach can provide incremental protection against diseases, such as cytomegalovirus, that affect this region of the body. We understand the importance of developing medication for specific patient populations, to ensure all patients’ needs are met.
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