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Journal/Book/Conference Title

The New England Journal of Medicine





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Date of Submission

January 2015



Currently, there is no effective intervention for a primary cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection during pregnancy.


We studied pregnant women with a primary CMV infection. The therapy group comprised women whose amniotic fluid contained either CMV or CMV DNA and who were offered intravenous CMV hyperimmune globulin at a dose of 200 U per kilogram of maternal weight. A prevention group, consisting of women with a recent primary infection before 21 weeks' gestation or who declined amniocentesis, was offered monthly hyperimmune globulin (100 U per kilogram intravenously).


In the therapy group, 31 women received hyperimmune globulin, only 1 (3 percent) of whom gave birth to an infant with CMV disease (symptomatic at birth and handicapped at two or more years of age), as compared with 7 of 14 women who did not receive hyperimmune globulin (50 percent). Thus, hyperimmune globulin therapy was associated with a significantly lower risk of congenital CMV disease (adjusted odds ratio, 0.02; 95 percent confidence interval, ¡∞ to 0.15; P<0.001). In the prevention group, 37 women received hyperimmune globulin, 6 (16 percent) of whom had infants with congenital CMV infection, as compared with 19 of 47 women (40 percent) who did not receive hyperimmune globulin. Thus, hyperimmune globulin therapy was associated with a significantly lower risk of congenital CMV infection (adjusted odds ratio, 0.32; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.10 to 0.94; P=0.04). Hyperimmune globulin therapy significantly (P<0.001) increased CMV-specific IgG concentrations and avidity and decreased natural killer cells and HLA-DR+ cells and had no adverse effects.


Treatment of pregnant women with CMV-specific hyperimmune globulin is safe, and the findings of this nonrandomized study suggest that it may be effective in the treatment and prevention of congenital CMV infection. A controlled trial of this agent may now be appropriate.


From The New England Journal of Medicine, Nigro, G., Adler, S.P., La Torre, R., et al., Passive immunization during pregnancy for congenital cytomegalovirus infection, Vol. 353, Page 1350, Copyright © 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society. Reprinted with permission.

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