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Shaping a new approach to treating cCMV

A leading Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) researcher has received a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grant to develop and test new technology aimed at treating a common infectious cause of hearing loss in newborn babies. 

A/Prof Valerie Sung was awarded a $2 million NHMRC grant to trial a test for congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV), which is the leading infectious cause of deafness and neurodevelopmental disability.  

This research intends to use data from MCRI’s Generation Victoria (GenV) project – the largest study of its kind – and aims to establish Australia’s first rapid bedside newborn cCMV screening test to offer early treatment and improve cCMV outcomes in children. 

A/Prof Sung said the study would enable accurate cCMV diagnosis, reduce unnecessary parental guilt, and establish a framework to prevent lifelong disabilities.  

“cCMV could be treatable within the time-critical newborn period. Our study will test a cost-effective public health strategy by validating a new rapid bedside screening test for targeted newborn cCMV screening.”

Our study will test a cost-effective public health strategy by validating a new rapid bedside screening test for targeted newborn cCMV screening. 

“It will address pressing questions about cCMV to inform screening, future intervention and vaccine trials and help inform precision medicine to the correct patient groups,” she said. 

GenV Scientific Director, Professor Melissa Wake, said GenV was designed to provide whole-of-population insights.  

“Many important research studies are just too expensive to mount as one-off projects – but, by embedding them in the whole-of-state GenV platform, they become feasible in terms of both costs and logistics. This speeds up answers to the major health issues facing children and adults. 

We look forward to seeing how this practical, innovative research into cCMV could lead to improved health outcomes for babies in the future.”

Over the next two years, around 150,000 children born in Victoria and their parents will have the opportunity to participate in GenV. By signing up to be a part of GenV, parents will help to create a healthier future for all children and their families. ”

We look forward to seeing how this practical, innovative research into cCMV could lead to improved health outcomes for babies in the future.