Approach to drug-resistant cytomegalovirus in transplant recipients

Sunwen Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Purpose of review The purpose of this study is to provide updated information on diagnosis of cytomegalovirus (CMV) drug resistance, treatments for drug-resistant infection and potential uses of experimental antiviral compounds. Recent findings For established CMV antivirals, uncommon viral UL97 kinase and UL54 DNA polymerase drug resistance mutations are sporadically described that expand an extensive existing database. Some novel mutations reported from treated patients have no drug-resistant phenotype and may be genotyping artefacts. Next-generation sequencing technology may enable earlier detection of emerging resistance mutations in treated patients. Management options for drug-resistant infection include optimization of host defenses, antiviral dose escalation, substitutions or combinations of standard or experimental antivirals. Maribavir and letermovir have antiviral targets distinct from the classic DNA polymerase. UL97 mutations elicited by ganciclovir and maribavir are different, although a single p-loop mutation can confer significant cross-resistance. High-grade resistance mutations in the UL56 terminase gene are readily selected in vitro under letermovir and await clinical correlation. Summary Technical advancements can enhance the accurate and timely genotypic detection of drug resistance. Antivirals undergoing clinical trial offer the prospect of new viral targets and drug combinations, but unresolved issues exist with regard to their therapeutic potential for drug-resistant CMV and their genetic barriers to resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-299
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 25 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • antiviral drug resistance
  • brincidofovir
  • cytomegalovirus
  • letermovir
  • maribavir

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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