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Prenatal valaciclovir-treatment for congenital CMV (Cytomegalovirus)

  • September 14, 2022

Unfortunately, some applied research projects within the biomedical field do not reach the patient due to a lack of industrial interest. The TBM program (applied Biomedical research with a primarily social purpose) aims to contribute to the development or validation of therapies, diagnostic techniques and/or preventive measures, through the funding of advanced application-driven biomedical research.

In 2022, 54 project propositions were submitted for TBM funding. After evaluation of the FWO expert panel, only 14 projects received funding. 4 of these projects are with VUB as a coordinator or as a partner. We would like to introduce one of these projects to grasp the importance of funding this applied research.

During pregnancy, there’s a 0.7%-1.5% chance of maternal cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, which can be transmitted to the fetus. This is usually asymptomatic but newborns with cCMV infection have a 15-20% risk to develop long-term sequelae such as sensorineural hearing loss or neurodevelopmental disabilities. An infection in the first trimester results in more severe neurodevelopment problems than an infection in the second or third trimester.

This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of the anti-viral drug valaciclovir to prevent CMV transmission to the fetus and the long-term safety of valaciclovir treatment during pregnancy.

This project was granted € 1 110 000 and will be conducted by KUL-UZL with VUB as a partner with the coordination of Leonardo Gucciardo (UZB).