Israeli doctor develops world’s first treatment preventing fetus from contracting CMV virus during pregnancy

October 29, 2020 by TPS
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Israeli Dr Keren Shachar-Nissan, a senior physician at the Schneider children’s hospital, has developed a treatment that prevents a fetus in utero from contracting the CMV virus that the mother has.

Medication. Ramat Gan, Jul 24, 2017. Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus. Once infected, your body retains the virus for life. There is no cure, but there are medications that can help treat the symptoms.

Women who develop an active CMV infection during pregnancy can pass the virus to their babies, who might then experience symptoms. The most common of these signs are hearing loss and developmental delay. A small number of babies may also develop vision problems.

Most people do not know they have CMV because it rarely causes problems in healthy people.

Shachar-Nissan initiated and led a study in collaboration with Beilinson Women’s Hospital following her friend who contracted the virus in early pregnancy.

The study examined the efficacy of the drug Valaciclovir in preventing fetal CMV infection after primary maternal infection during pregnancy.

The study recruited 100 women who contracted the virus in early pregnancy and were referred to a pregnancy infection clinic in Beilinson.

The women were treated with Valacyclovir or a placebo until amniocentesis was performed, which revealed that the fetus was infected with the virus.

The study found that Valacyclovir, given as early as possible from the moment of maternal infection, reduces the rate of infection of the fetus by 71%.

The study will be published in the prestigious The Lancet medical journal in the coming weeks.


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