Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the most common congenital infection and a known cause of microcephaly, sensorineural hearing loss, and cognitive impairment among newborns worldwide. Natural maternal HCMV immunity reduces the incidence of congenital infection, but does not prevent the disease altogether. We employed a nonhuman primate model of congenital CMV infection to investigate the ability of preexisting antibodies to protect against placental CMV transmission in the setting of primary maternal infection and subsequent viremia, which is required for placental virus exposure. Pregnant, CD4+ T cell–depleted, rhesus CMV–seronegative (RhCMV-seronegative) rhesus monkeys were treated with either standardly produced hyperimmune globulin (HIG) from RhCMV-seropositive macaques or dose-optimized, potently RhCMV-neutralizing HIG prior to intravenous challenge with an RhCMV mixture. HIG passive infusion provided complete protection against fetal loss in both groups. The dose-optimized, RhCMV-neutralizing HIG additionally inhibited placental transmission of RhCMV and reduced viral replication and diversity. Our findings suggest that the presence of durable and potently neutralizing antibodies at the time of primary infection can prevent transmission of systemically replicating maternal RhCMV to the developing fetus, and therefore should be a primary target of vaccines to eliminate this neonatal infection.
Cody S. Nelson, Diana Vera Cruz, Dollnovan Tran, Kristy M. Bialas, Lisa Stamper, Huali Wu, Margaret Gilbert, Robert Blair, Xavier Alvarez, Hannah Itell, Meng Chen, Ashlesha Deshpande, Flavia Chiuppesi, Felix Wussow, Don J. Diamond, Nathan Vandergrift, Mark R. Walter, Peter A. Barry, Michael Cohen-Wolkowiez, Katia Koelle, Amitinder Kaur, Sallie R. Permar
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.