Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), the largest known human herpesvirus, is a major cause of disease in individuals whose immune systems are compromised or immature and is the commonest infective cause of congenital damage to the central nervous system. Similarly, it can also be life-threatening in the context of organ or bone marrow transplant or advanced HIV infection.
Unlike many other viruses, HCMV is never cleared after primary infection but persists for the life time of the host. In part, this is due to the profound ability of HCMV to avoid the host’s immune response.
Wei-Li Kuan, Emma Poole, Michael Fletcher, Sharon Karniely, Pam Tyers, Mark Wills, Roger A. Barker, and John H. Sinclair (2011) A novel neuroprotective therapy for Parkinson’s disease using a viral non-coding RNA that protects mitochondrial Complex I activity J. Experimental Medicine In press