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Researchers identify key marker to help speed development of CMV vaccines

This figure illustrates the study workflow to identify the immune responses associated with protection from CMV infection. This figure was made using BioRender. Credit: Jennifer Jenks, Duke University School of Medicine

A Duke Health-led research team has identified a key marker that will help speed effective vaccine designs for cytomegalovirus (CMV), the most common congenital infection worldwide and a leading cause of infant brain damage.

In a study appearing online Nov. 4 in Science Translational Medicine, the researchers describe an immune surrogate that demonstrates when a vaccine has elicited the necessary antibodies that protect against CMV infection. The finding is already being applied to screen potential vaccines.

"CMV has been recognized as a top priority for vaccine development for more than 20 years, yet we remain without an approved vaccine. This work provides a way to assure that current and future vaccine candidates stimulate an effective immune response," said senior author Sallie Permar, M.D., a professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Immunology, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and Pathology at Duke University School of Medicine.

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