A Vaccine Monkey Wrench?

Science  02 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5974, pp. 51-52
DOI: 10.1126/science.1188578

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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is an enveloped DNA virus that, like other herpes viruses, establishes life-long latency in its host after infection. Reactivation of latent virus or secondary infection by the same (or similar) virus frequently occurs, confounding the host's ability to establish immune protection. In industrialized countries, primary, recurrent, and secondary infection during pregnancy is the greatest cause of many congenital diseases such as childhood deafness, and neurological handicaps, including mental retardation. Hence, development of a vaccine against human CMV is a high priority (1). On page 102 of this issue, Hansen et al. (2) elucidate how CMV reinfects its human host despite the immune system's capacity to control primary infection.