A child with the flu

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) Associate Professor Amanda Gwee has been awarded a federal grant to improve the treatment of a viral illness that can be deadly for children with weakened immune systems.

Associate Professor Gwee has received a Clinical Trials Activity Grant from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to investigate whether the standard medication for cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection could be better applied in young children.

All children with CMV currently receive a standard dose of the antiviral medicine ganciclovir to treat their infection, an approach that has remained unchanged for three decades.

Associate Professor Gwee said her team’s adaptive, multi-centre trial will use a specialised app to personalise this therapy, with each child’s dosage of ganciclovir based on their weight and kidney function.

Cytomegalovirus researcher Associate Professor Amanda Gwee

Image: Associate Professor Amanda Gwee

“A CMV infection rarely causes major problems, but for children with a weakened immune system this infection can lead to complications like chronic lung disease, blindness, liver failure and even death,” she said.

“This grant will ensure that we can adapt the dosage and optimise the use of intravenous ganciclovir to not only treat CMV effectively in children but reduce the risk of serious side-effects.”

Associate Professor Gwee said the study would also see if improving the treatment of CMV reduced the overall cost to families and improves quality of life for children.

“By determining the ideal dosage using a simple app, this study will help to reduce the financial burden of prolonged CMV treatment and help affected children get better sooner,” she said.

Read more about MCRI’s research in antimicrobials and infectious diseases.

child in hospital

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