Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common human herpes virus. Once infected with CMV, the body retains the virus for life. In most healthy people CMV causes mild or no symptoms and most people are unaware of having had the infection. In individuals with an impaired immune system CMV can cause more severe disease and it can also cause problems for the developing foetus if a woman is infected with CMV when she is pregnant. This infection is called congenital CMV infection (cCMV) and can cause a range of problems for the baby.

At the PIDRG and SGVI, we have a special interest in studying CMV infection, particularly in pregnant women (maternal CMV infection) and their babies (cCMV infection). These studies have been sponsored by SGUL and external organisations. We have several studies focusing on CMV infection which are completed, ongoing, or in the pipeline, as described below:

Past studies:

  • International ECCI cCMV registry

This is a database registry sponsored by SGUL through the European cCMV Initiative (ECCI), including children with cCMV infection from birth. Its aim is to collect important data such as developmental outcomes. Leadership for this registry has now been handed over to our Spanish colleagues at ECCI.

  • Toddler Valgan

This was a randomised clinical trial sponsored by ( ) and funded by ( ), looking at the outcome of antiviral treatment with Valgancyclovir in children infected with cCMV infection, either to commence within the first month of life or beyond.

  • RACE-FIT

RACE FIT was a study investigating the impact of a digital educational intervention about CMV in pregnancy. This study, sponsored by SGUL and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), recruited women in early pregnancy who were more at risk of exposure to CMV because of living with a young child. Participants were randomised either to receive the educational intervention or to treatment as usual. Those in the educational intervention group increased their knowledge about CMV, had an increased understanding of the risks of CMV infection in pregnancy and had changed some of their day-to-day activities in keeping with the advice in the educational intervention. Women who had received the educational intervention did not have any increase in reported depression or anxiety.  

Current studies:

This is an observational study sponsored by SGUL and funded by Merck Sharpe and Dohme, looking at the characteristics of CMV viral excretion in the bodily fluids, known as CMV shedding, in women during pregnancy who have previously been infected with CMV. – Please link the study to the current studies page

Future studies:

Project Team

Paediatric Clinical Research Fellow

Anna Calvert

Paediatric Clinical Research Fellow

Shari Sapuan

Project Manager

Suzannah Wright

Research Midwife

Vanessa Greening

Director

Paul Heath

Paediatric Clinical Research Fellow

Anna Calvert

Anna is a clinical research fellow who has been working with PIDRG since 2015. Her main interests are in maternal and infant vaccination, particularly in infants born preterm, and she is currently working on her PhD investigating invasive meningococcal disease in preterm infants.

Wilcox CR, Calvert A, Metz J, Kilich E, MacLeod R, Beadon K, Heath PT, Khalil A, Finn A, Snape MD, et al. Attitudes of Pregnant Women and Healthcare Professionals Toward Clinical Trials and Routine Implementation of Antenatal Vaccination Against Respiratory Syncytial Virus: A Multicenter Questionnaire Study. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2019; 38: 944-951

Vandrevala T, Barber V, Calvert A, Star C, Khalil A, Griffiths P, Heath PT, Jones CE. Understanding pregnant women’s readiness to engage in risk-reducing measures to prevent infections during pregnancy. J Health Psychol. November 2019. doi:10.1177/1359105319884609

Tregoning JS, Weiner J, Cizmeci D, Hake D, Maertzdorf J, Kaufman SHE, Leroux-Roels G, Maes C, Aerssens A, Calvert A, et al. Pregnancy has a minimal impact on the acute transcriptional signature to vaccination. NPJ Vaccines 2020; 5:29
Barber V, Calvert A, Vandrevala T, Star C, Khalil A, Griffiths P, Heath PT, Jones CE. Prevention of Acquisition of Cytomegalovirus Infection in Pregnancy Through Hygiene-based Behavioural Interventions: A Systematic Review and Gap Analysis. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2020; 39:949-954

Vandrevala T, Barber V, Mbire-Chigumba E, Calvert A, Star C, Khalil A, Griffiths P, et al. Parenting a child with congenital cytomegalovirus infection: a qualitative study. BMJ Paediatr Open 2020; 4: e000844

Paediatric Clinical Research Fellow

Shari Sapuan

Shari is a paediatric trainee in London with a special interest in maternal and child health within the field of infectious diseases. Her roles within the PIDRG and SGVI as a clinical research fellow involve working on projects relating to vaccinology in maternal and child health, as well as a special focus on maternal and congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Shari is also a PhD student at St George’s University of London, where her  thesis focuses on the area of maternal and congenital cytomegalovirus infection, which involves one of the PIDRG projects she is working on as the Principal Investigator.

Sapuan S, Kortsalioudaki C, Anthony M, Chang J, Embleton ND, Geethanath RM et al. Neonatal
Listeriosis in the UK 2004-2014. Journal of Infection. 2016 Nov 17. Available
from: 10.1016/j.jinf.2016.11.007

Project Manager

Suzannah Wright

Suzannah is a Project Manager with over five years’ experience working in clinical trials. She primarily supports the paediatric vaccine studies, working closely with the multidisciplinary team at St George’s Vaccine Institute to set up and co-ordinate the clinical trials.

Research Midwife

Vanessa Greening

Vanessa is a research midwife within the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Group within the Vaccine Institute, leading on studies that involve surveillance, interventions or treatments in pregnancy.

Prior to her role in research, Vanessa worked as a clinical midwife in multiple maternity units across the UK and abroad. She trained in Southampton graduating in 2010.

Director

Paul Heath

Email:pheath@sgul.ac.uk

Secretary Phone:020 8725 3262