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Science/Medicine : Injections Aid in Transplants

October 26, 1987

Antibody injections can prevent a life-threatening viral disease that is common among those receiving organ transplants, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The treatment was used to prevent disease caused by the cytomegalovirus, or CMV, the most common serious viral illness among transplant patients. CMV is extremely common and does not usually bother healthy people. However, the virus can cause pneumonia, hepatitis and other illness in people whose disease defenses are weak. Among them are transplant recipients who take immune-suppressing drugs to prevent rejection of their new organs.

In the latest approach, researchers at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health developed concentrated doses of CMV antibodies. Of 59 kidney transplant patients, 21% getting the antibodies developed CMV symptoms, contrasted with 60% of those in a comparison group.

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