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Basic Biology of CMV: Application to Diagnosis, Therapy, and Prevention

This session will be a simple, straightforward primer on the basic biology of the CMV virus. A historical time-line of evolving knowledge about CMV will be presented, spanning the initial discovery of the virus through more recent scientific insights into viral genetics, strain variation, and immunity. The ways in which CMV can infect an individual will be reviewed, with emphasis not only on how the virus gets into (and injures) a cell during the process of infection, but also on how this infection pathway can be blocked by antiviral treatments and candidate vaccines. Additionally, the session will address gaps in the understanding of the immune response to CMV, and will provide information on how the virus encodes functions that evade the immune response (in the process complicating the development of protective immunity and the design of vaccines). Clinicians, allied health providers, and families alike should all benefit from this review on the basic biology of CMV. This background session should serve as a valuable introduction for the meeting, particularly for those attendees who may have a limited knowledge of the virus itself. The viral correlates of transmission and pathogenesis will be considered against the broader context of other congenital viral infections, including Zika virus. The format will be highly interactive with blocks of time for questions about: diseases caused by CMV (how does the virus actually injure an individual?); diagnosis (how do we prove someone has a CMV infection?); antiviral drugs and globulins (how do these interventions work?); and vaccines (how does CMV "hide" from the immune system and what does this mean for maternal and fetal infections that occur during pregnancy?).