Commentary: Development of Therapeutics for Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection

Academic Article


  • In the mid 1980’s, I flew from Birmingham, Alabama to San Francisco, rented a car, and drove to Palo Alto so that I could meet with John Martin at Syntex. John, along with Julian Verheyden, synthesized ganciclovir, which had significant in vitro activity against cytomegalovirus (CMV) in vitro. This drug provided my colleagues and me an opportunity to evaluate it as a therapeutic agent for congenital CMV infection, knowing full well that it was mutagenic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic. John in his wisdom convinced the management of Syntex to provide ganciclovir for this disease, allowing me to study this drug in symptomatic congenitally infected children through the NIAID Collaborative Antiviral Study Group (CASG). Certainly, no other person or company would advocate for the use of such a medication in children, regardless of disease severity, because of its toxicity profile. Since these early days, ganciclovir, and subsequently its prodrug valganciclovir, have become the standard of care for the treatment of congenital cytomegalovirus infection. The following commentary defines the need and progress in the development of therapy
  • Published In

  • Antiviral Therapy  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Whitley RJ
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 1