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New ways forward in virology

Viral disease represents an insidious and serious health risk.

Viruses are often not detected early enough. This allows them to spread uncontrollably. Since viruses can quickly mutate, they can prove difficult to detect and combat.

Cytomegaly test – more reliable diagnosis for pregnant women: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is normally harmless and often goes unnoticed. Around 60 percent of all adults carry CMV – and are none the wiser.

 

Cytomegaly test: reliable early detection for pregnant women

 

In pregnancy, however, primary CMV infection can become dangerous. CMV transmitted from the mother may cause serious defects in the unborn child. Only fresh infection is dangerous for the baby. Pregnant patients receive a more reliable diagnosis with the CMV IgM test and are not needlessly unsettled by false-positive results.

Class M immunoglobulins – IgM for short – are the first line of antibody defense against a pathogen. High IgM levels thus point to acute infection. Typically, these antibodies disappear after remission of the acute phase, to be replaced by IgG. In some cases, however, IgM molecules remain detectable in the blood for a long time and may therefore mimic an acute infection.

The Roche CMV IgM test can tell whether the IgM antibodies in the blood of a pregnant woman are a response to longstanding infection or to fresh disease. The test developed in Penzberg / Germany differentiates between early and late IgM and specifically detects early IgM. The criterion differentiating early from late IgM is the difference in avidity, namely the strength with which the antibody binds to its respective antigen.

 

The CMV IgM test decreases the number of false positive results and the stressful further investigations associated with them.

Maria Ambert and Davaasuren Agambai, Roche Penzberg, Germany

 

Roche-Penzberg scientists have succeeded in developing a test for pregnant women that accurately differentiates between longstanding CMV and a fresh CMV infection that can be dangerous for the baby’s health.

Maria Ambert and Davaasuren Agambai, Roche Penzberg, Germany