Nature Medicine | Spoonful of Medicine

Cytomegalovirus—a ‘stealth’ pathogen—gains attention in the drug development realm

Cytomegalovirus is sometimes called ‘the stealth virus’ because many people, including more than 50% of adults in the US, harbor the infection. But few individuals ever feel the effects of CMV unless something else squelches their immune system first—such as the immunosuppressing drugs given before a bone marrow transplant. Wherever the virus gains a foothold, it can create serious problems such as pneumonia, unrelenting diarrhea or inflammation in the eye. It’s also the most common viral infection in newborns and 1 out of every 750 infants born with CMV in the US will suffer permanent harm—hearing loss, brain damage, or even death—from this virus. 


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