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Protecting the most vulnerable from infection

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Research funded by Action is helping to improve the treatment of a life-threatening infection in children with severely compromised immune systems.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is one of the biggest killers of children with weakened immune systems, such as those undergoing organ or bone marrow transplants or having cancer treatment. Those who survive can develop lifelong disabilities.

Resistance of viruses to drug treatments are a major concern when caring for children with such infections.

With support from Action, Professor Judy Breuer and her team, based at the UCL Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital, have developed a new blood test for CMV to detect much earlier, faster and more accurately whether or not a child’s infection is becoming resistant to treatment.

This means that doctors will be able to make more informed and timely decisions about which drugs to treat patients with. The new methods developed in this project are already being used for further research and have led to a change in the CMV treatment protocol at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

This work was jointly funded with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.